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Unilever Unit Swaps Direct, Indirect RE

Unilever Netherlands’ EUR4 billion Dutch pension fund Progress is changing its property strategy and swapping direct real estate holdings with indirect real estate investments, IPE Real Estate reports.

The fund had EUR587 million worth of real estate investments by the end of last year. “What we have seen is the scale of real estate investors has increased over the last 5-10 years, whereas Progress’ position has declined in comparison to other real estate companies in the Netherlands and Europe,” said Spokesman Wouter van de Putte. “With a direct real estate portfolio, it is more difficult to spread risk in different categories. To get a good spread of risks you need a big scale portfolio.”

The board is at work creating a plan for how it will dispose of existing direct real estate holdings and what listed real estate equities and funds to invest in. The plan had 15% in real estate at the end of July.

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