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Industrial Logistics Properties (ILPT) Sells 39% JV Equity Stake

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Industrial Logistics Properties Trust (ILPT - Free Report) recently announced the addition of another partner — a large, top-tier global sovereign wealth fund — to its existing $680-million joint venture (JV) of a select portfolio of 12 of the company’s mainland properties by selling a second 39% JV equity interest. This will enable the company to reap proceeds of roughly $108 million as well as retain its 22% stake in the venture.

Also, the latest move is a strategic fit for Industrial Logistics Properties. This is because it helps the company bank on the solid demand for quality industrial and logistics assets and generate decent proceeds that will be deployed for a substantial reduction in its leverage.

Industrial Logistics Properties plans to use the $108 million of proceeds for lowering outstanding borrowings under its $750-million unsecured revolving credit facility. Moreover, the company’s 22% equity investment will be accounted as an unconsolidated JV interest, while its consolidated balance sheet will no longer record the $407 million of debt related to the properties in the JV.

Notably, the JV is managed by The RMR Group LLC, the majority owned operating subsidiary of The RMR Group Inc. (RMR - Free Report) and the manager of Industrial Logistics Properties.

It is no secret how the industrial real estate asset category has been playing a crucial role in recent years in the growing e-commerce market, transforming the way how consumers shop and receive their goods. Services like same-day delivery are gaining traction, and last-mile properties in high-income urban areas have been witnessing solid pricing, occupancy and growth in rentals.

And the icing on the cake is the social-distancing norm amid this pandemic, which is fueling online orders and substantially boosting e-commerce’s share of total retail sales. Consumers’ habits are transforming at a rapid pace, and even the reluctant ones, who once favored in-store purchases, now prefer online purchases in order to avoid physical contact and the spread of infection.

Furthermore, apart from the fast adoption of e-retail, the industrial real estate space is anticipated to benefit over the long run from a likely increase in inventory levels. This is because, in response to the pandemic along with trade disruptions, there is a sound possibility of a shift from a lean supply-chain strategy to a more resilient one.

Thus, industrial real estates grabbed significant limelight with demand shooting up significantly and investments pouring in, aiding industrial landlords like Industrial Logistics Properties, Prologis (PLD - Free Report) and Duke Realty (DRE - Free Report) to flourish.

Given Industrial Logistics Properties’ ownership of 301 properties with 43.8 million rentable square feet that are 98.8% leased to 264 tenants, with a weighted average residual lease term of about nine years, the company is well poised to capitalize on this trend.

Shares of this currently Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company have gained 25.7% in the past six months compared with the 15.8% rally of its industry. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.


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