Allianz to spend €10bn over next five years

President and chief executive of Allianz Real Estate Olivier Piani says it is the ‘best time’ to be growing a global organisation. The insurance company expects to grow its allocation to RE to 6% 'and maybe more', with up to a third focused on the US and Asia respectively.

Allianz Real Estate president and chief executive Olivier Piani has been given a €10 billion green light to go out and grow the organisation into a global platform.

Piani, GE Real Estate's former head of Europe, told the Wall Street Journal the real estate arm of the insurance company was reshaping its activities with plans to invest more capital in property outside of Europe.

Piani has reportedly been given the right to spend €10 billion over the next five years on real estate opportunities, with Allianz keen to allocate up to 30 percent to the US and Asia. With much of the firm’s investments focused on Germany, France and Italy, it means new acquisitions will primarily be outside of Europe.

Allianz is opening offices in New York and Singapore, and could open one in London later this year, the report said. Piani added that he was keen to expand Allianz’s portfolio, which are almost exclusively direct investments, from mainly offices to include retail.

Piani also said Allianz was also starting to invest in real estate funds. “We'll do this to cover geography or a type of asset that we don't have yet,” he said.

According to the report, Allianz will this week announce its acquisition of a 50 percent stake in Boston’s One Beacon Street, a 34-story office tower, for an undisclosed amount. It follows on from the purchase of a 25 percent stake in 1301 Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan in September for $110 million.

Piani said this was the “best time” to be growing the business. “Even if values in the US are heading south, the real value may be in growth over three, four, five, six or seven years, when we may be selling the property again.”

Allianz currently allocates about €20 billion, or 4 percent of its assets, to real estate, the report said, with Piani added the company wanted to increase that to 6 percent “and maybe more. That means increasing our assets to around €30 billion,” he said.