• Accor’s F1 deal crosses line

Accor has sold 158 hotelF1 (the budget brand formerly known as Formule 1) properties for Eu272m to a French private investment trust.

The OPCI fund has signed 12-year leases renewable six times at Accor's option for variable rents based on an average of 20% of turnover.

Accor said the deal "confirms the renewed interest of investors for hotel real estate, and particularly for the low-cost segment. It will enable Accor to reduce debt by Eu187m. The rent payable based on 2008 revenue would be Eu21.3m.

The OPCI (organisme de placement collectif immobilier) vehicle was formed four years ago but is only recently becoming popular. The structure offers a reduced capital gains tax rate of 19% against 33% to vendors who sell to an OPCI.

The OPCI can hold other assets as well as property, although 60% must be property. This can improve liquidity in the fund.

Some property investors believe the nascent OPCI market which is worth in total about Eu5bn could approach the size of the German open-ended fund market which is worth about Eu85bn.

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