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Weingarten Realty Investors (WRI - Snapshot Report), a real estate investment trust (REIT), has recently sold its interest in three industrial joint ventures for $21.1 million. This completes the company’s exit from the industrial real estate business.

Spanning 2.6 million square feet, the portfolio consisted of nine industrial properties in Houston, Texas. The portfolio was sold to Exeter Property Group’s Fund II. As a part of the transaction, Exeter also assumed secured debt of $7.8 million.

Weingarten Realty is continuing with its portfolio repositioning program in which it divests non-core assets and targets high-quality assets in lucrative markets with better growth opportunities. With its exit from the industrial real estate business, Weingarten Realty now positions itself as a pure-play retail REIT.

Additionally in October, the company sold two non-core retail assets - Burbank Station in a suburb of Chicago and Johnston Road Plaza in Charlotte, North Carolina. Year-to-date asset sale tally of the company is $631 million. The strategic move is aimed to reposition the portfolio by selling non-core assets that no longer fit the company’s vision.

The asset sale would further increase its liquidity. At the end of third quarter 2012, Weingarten Realty had cash and cash equivalents of $19.1 million

Based in Houston, Texas, Weingarten Realty owns, manages and develops real estate properties. As of September 30, 2012, the company owns a total of 301 developed income-producing properties and 11 properties under construction. The total number of properties includes 295 neighborhoods and community shopping centers and 17 other operating properties located in 22 states totaling approximately 59.8 million square feet.

Weingarten Realty currently retains a Zacks #2 Rank, which translates into a short-term Hold rating. We  have a long-term Neutral recommendation on the stock. One of its competitors, DDR Corp. (DDR - Analyst Report) also holds a Zacks #2 Rank.

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