Property trusts in merger talks

The boards of the UK commercial property trust, managed by Ignis Investments, and the F&C commercial property trust are considering a merger. If the merger of the £640m F&C trust and the £979m Ignis trust does go ahead, the combined entity would be one of the UK’s biggest listed property companies.

Ignis, the asset manager owned by the Phoenix Group, has tabled proposals to both boards for a merger of the two companies.

Both boards are reviewing the proposals at present. In a statement, the Phoenix Group says the merger would combine two high quality and complementary property portfolios creating a strengthened portfolio.

Phoenix says the merged entity would have a lower expense ratio and greater liquidity. This, it says, would make it more attractive to institutional investors, which would help to drive value.

Both trusts are currently trading at a premium to net asset value, with the Ignis trust at a premium of 10 per cent and the F&C trust at a premium of 14 per cent.