The Australian shopping centre owner has confirmed the sale of a 50% interest in its Merry Hill shopping centre in the West Midlands.

As reported by Property Week (news 23.06.2006) it has sold its 50% interest in the 1.6m sq ft (150,000 sq m) Merry Hill shopping centre and surrounding development land for £524m (A$1.3bn) to Queensland Investment Corporation QIC who will be a joint venture partner in future development at the scheme.

Westfield will be the scheme’s property, leasing and development manager.

The value of the 50% stake values the centre at £990m with surrounding development land valued at around £58m. The total value of £1.04bn represents a current income yield of 4.3%.

Merry Hill is one of the largest shopping centres in the UK and tenants including Debenhams, Marks & Spencer, ASDA and Sainsbury.

The Westfield Group purchased its 100% interest in the Merry Hill as part of the Chelsfield/Duelguide acquisition in December 2004 at a cost of £875m.

QIC Real Estate (QICRE) is keen to invest in the international property market and invest outside of Australia. It earlier this year poached Chris Taylor, the former PruPIM and HSBC director, to head European property.

CB Richard Ellis is thought to be involved in advising on the Merry Hill sale.