UPDATE 1-UK's Unite Group sells two London properties for 342 mln pounds

(Adds details of disposal, CEO quote)

June 18 (Reuters) - UK student housing provider Unite Group has sold two London properties to its joint venture with Singapore wealth fund GIC for 342 million pounds ($475 million), it said on Friday, in an effort to pay down debt.

Unite said the properties, located in Wembley and Whitechapel, have 1,358 bed spaces, the majority of which are direct-let to students.

The company said net proceeds from the sale will be used to repay group debt and reinvested in its development pipeline over time.

“The transaction means we have now delivered over 260 million pounds of disposals in the year to date on a Unite share basis,” Unite Chief Executive Officer Richard Smith said in a statement.

The London Student Accommodation joint venture (LSAV) will fund the acquisition through 208 million pounds of equity from Unite and GIC, and a 140-million pound 8-year loan facility provided by investment fund Barings.

The two properties had a gross asset value of 338 million pounds as of December 31, 2020.

Unite will continue to manage and operate the properties under its management deal with LSAV, the company said. ($1 = 0.7195 pounds) (Reporting by Vishwadha Chander in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)