Allianz SE, Europe’s biggest insurer, agreed to buy a stake in five French shopping malls from Paris-based developer Altarea Cogedim for 395 million euros ($535 million).
Allianz Real Estate will take a 49 percent stake in the malls, located in Paris, Toulouse, Gennevilliers and Toulon, the company said in a statement today. Altarea will continue to manage the properties, which are valued at more than 800 million euros, Allianz said.
“This equity investment represents our most important investment in Europe for this year,” Allianz Real Estate Chief Executive Officer Olivier Piani said in the statement. The portfolio “illustrates the assets profile we are looking for and strengthens our real estate exposure in France.”
Insurers and pension funds are buying European commercial properties as a way to boost returns amid near record-low interest rates. Investors acquired almost 15 billion euros of retail properties in the first nine months, 6.8 percent more than a year earlier, according to data compiled by London-based broker Savills Plc.
Allianz, based in Munich, has bought stakes in office buildings in Italy, a high-rise in Frankfurt and a shopping mall in Poland this year.