EC&O owner to demerge

The company behind Earls Court and Olympia exhibition halls has announced it is to separate into two businesses by demerging its British shopping centres from its London-based property portfolio.

EC&O owner to demerge
EC&O owner to demerge

The plan, expected to be realised this May, will see Liberty International renamed as Capital Shopping Centres, while the group's property portfolio will come under new company Capital & Counties (Capital & Counties is already the division of Liberty that owns Earls Court, but the move will see it demerge completely).

According to Liberty International chairman Patrick Burgess, the demerger will create two distinct listed businesses with different characteristics and attractions for shareholders.

"The proposed demerger announced today responds to what the Liberty International board considers to be a changing approach to investment in real estate, both in the equity markets and the property market, requiring greater focus and more active management," he said.

"Capital Shopping Centres and Capital & Counties will be positioned to execute their own significant strategic plans, fully engaging with investors who will be able to select their individual weightings to each of the businesses over time," he added.

In January, Capital & Countries completed the buy-out of the final 50% of Earls Court and its sister venues Olympia and the Brewery. The purchase will allow it to press ahead with plans to redevelop the Earls Court site.

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