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AXA IM bags £80m UK office for Euro core fund

The real estate subsidiary of French insurance giant AXA Investment Managers has obtained a second property on behalf of its pan-European core vehicle.

AXA Investment Managers (IM) – Real Assets, the real assets investment arm of the investment management business of French insurer AXA, has acquired The Asticus Building in Victoria, central London, for £80 million ($116 million; €104 million).

The 60,700 square foot office building has eleven floors, nine of which have office space of between 5,000 to 10,000 square feet. The property has a number of strong tenants and has been largely fully let for the last nine years.

The Asticus Building is located close to Victoria mainline station, two underground stations and the proposed Crossrail II route, as well as a number of London’s landmarks including Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament.

The transaction was made on behalf of the firm’s AXA CoRE Europe fund which was launched in March. The seller was the London-based asset management firm Aberdeen Asset Management, through its Aberdeen UK Property Fund.

Through the vehicle, AXA IM said it intends to acquire core real estate assets, primarily office and retail, across Europe for its institutional investor base. By March, the firm had raised over €500 million but said it aimed to grow the fund and eventually collect between €3 billion and €5 billion.

“The Asticus Building is a significant acquisition for AXA IM, offering a high-quality, freehold office investment which creates plentiful near-term asset and income enhancement opportunities,” said Rainer Suter, fund leader for AXA CoRE Europe.

“Victoria is host to a number of leading businesses and the strategic location of this asset, coupled with the quality of tenants, fits well with the stated fund commitment of targeting mainstream assets that have a high building quality let to strong tenants on a medium-to-long term basis,” he added.

Huw Stephens, the firm’s UK head of transactions, said the deal demonstrated AXA IM’s confidence in London’s “long-term attraction as a leading business centre”.

In March, the firm used capital from the AXA CoRE Europe fund, to acquire France’s tallest tower, Tour First, in Paris La Defense in a deal understood to be valued at €800 million.

Last month, AXA IM announced the final close of its Pan-European Value-Added Venture with a total fund raise of €445 million. The vehicle will have a total investment capacity of €890 million, once leverage is included.

AXA IM currently has more than €60 billion real estate assets under management.