Dutch property giant to list arm in London

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RODAMCO, Europe's second largest property company, yesterday confirmed it would split into four regional companies, including Rodamco UK, which will seek a listing on the London Stock Exchange.

Rodamco UK, which has an estimated market capitalisation of around pounds 1bn, is set to become one of the UK's top 10 quoted property companies. The group's largest fund will be Rodamco North America, where the Dutch giant has an estimated market capitalisation of $3.1bn. Rodamco Continental Europe and Rodamco Asia will make up the other two companies.

Jan de Kreij, Rodamco chairman, said the UK company aims to be on a par with British Land, Land Securities and MEPC, but, unlike them, is also well-placed to make the most of its pan-European and global network.

"We are effectively the largest global property company. On the one hand splitting up we're becoming more local, on the other hand we can maintain the global glue across our entities," he said, citing Marks & Spencer as an example of a retailer which would come to Rodamco for its European and UK needs.

He added that the group, which hopes to raise new equity when it floats in London, should prove doubly attractive to UK investors because of the tax breaks its primary listing in Amsterdam entitles it to.

However, analysts pointed out that Rodamco's unweildy and confusing global structure lay behind recent poor performance, and said the rationalisation was overdue.

One analyst said: "Every one knew it had to happen because of the abysmal share performance. They're a conglomerate; MEPC and Hammerson sold off their international assets for the same reason. Shareholders want a focused company."

In Britain Rodamko has operated under the auspices of Rodamco Haslemere, with chief executive Chris Bartram, who will take the helm at Rodamco UK.