Allianz enters €500m European logistics JV

The German insurance giant is buying stakes in a Belgian developer’s central European portfolio.

Allianz Real Estate, the real estate arm of German insurance giant Allianz, is expanding its European logistics reach through a 50/50 joint venture announced Tuesday.

The Munich-based real estate platform bought into a portfolio of logistics properties developed by Belgian real estate group VGP in Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. The transaction cost about €500 million, and the firms plan to acquire more assets to grow the joint venture to more than €1.5 billion, according to a statement. The portfolio comprises 27 completed buildings and seven that are currently under construction, scheduled to be completed in the next six months. This is Allianz's first partnership with VGP, which will continue to manage the properties. The developer plans to reinvest some of the proceeds from the portfolio sale into its pipeline, according to a statement.

VGP said Allianz’s long-term investment strategy made the firm an attractive partner.

“We are delighted to have found a strong and reputable partner in Allianz Real Estate” said Jan Van Geet, VGP’s chief executive officer, in a statement Tuesday. “With the joint venture we can consistently continue our growth from the last few years. Like us, our joint venture partner is also committed to a long-term perspective and wants to grow with us.”

Allianz manages about €37.4 billion ($40.2 billion) in its real estate division, according to its website. In 2015, the firm had invested 8 percent of its real estate portfolio in property types outside of office, residential and retail, and plans to increase that allocation to 10 percent by 2018.

VGP was founded in 1998 and is headquartered in Zele, Belgium. The firm operates logistics and industrial parks in Germany, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Estonia, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania, and expanded to Spain last year. The firm has previously partnered with Tristan Capital Partners, a London-based private equity real estate firm.