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UBS sells property unit to foreign buyer

UBS continues to refocus its business


Switzerland's largest financial group UBS has sold its real estate company IMPRIS to the foreign investment fund. It is the first time a Swiss real estate group has been purchased by an overseas investor.

The buyer is the investment fund, Whitehall, which is owned by the United States broker, Goldman Sachs.

No financial details were released, but UBS said it would lighten its balance and free up capital, as it acquires US-based broker, Paine Webber, in a cash and share deal worth $11.8 billion.

Founded in 1999 with its headquarters in Zurich, IMPRIS manages a portfolio of 13 properties in Switzerland. Assets in its portfolio comprise office and retail properties totalling 100,000 square metres, based mainly in Geneva and Zurich.

A spokeswoman for UBS said the group was also planning to sell another real estate portfolio, Nurestra, in the same way.

"Strategically, the transaction underlines UBS's intention to focus on its core activities. This excludes ownership and administration of real estate," UBS said in a statement.

swissinfo with agencies

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