European insurers lead on private real estate activity

Major transactions in Europe and Asia-Pacific have helped push Allianz, AXA and Swiss Life to the top 10 of PERE’s GI 50.

Among the notable insurer stories in the last year was Allianz, runner-up to Middle East sovereign wealth fund ADIA, and Dutch pension fund APG in the ranking, joining its insurance peers in investing equity via third-party arrangements for the first time.


Swiss Life buys €1.7bn Paris office portfolio

Buyer: Swiss Life Asset Management
Seller: Terreis
Price: €1.7bn

What to know: Switzerland’s largest life insurer made a significant purchase in European core real estate by securing a prime office portfolio in Paris through its asset management arm Swiss Life Asset Management this May. The manager acquired a total of 28 core office buildings from French real estate investment trust company Terreïs, mainly in the central business district in Paris.


AXA’s purchase of Northstar Realty Europe

Buyer: AXA IM-Real Assets

Seller: Northstar Realty Europe

Price: $870m

What to know: The investment arm of the French insurer ramped up its exposure to prime European offices by acquiring the NYSE-listed Northstar Realty Europe. The acquisition came as part of the manager’s core strategy for one of its clients. This single deal gave AXA IM access to the €1.1 billion real estate portfolio of 12 office properties and two hotel assets in key cities in Germany, the UK and France.


Allianz RE, AXA and Scape ready A$1.5bn student housing fund

Buyer: Allianz RE, AXA Group

Seller: N/A

Price: Allianz RE and AXA commit a total of A$700m ($480m; €431m)

What to know: Two of the GI 50’s biggest insurers teamed up with student accommodation specialist Scape in September to set up a A$1.5 billion core Australian student accommodation fund to capture the rising multifamily opportunities in Australia. The vehicle is expected to grow the portfolio to a value of A$4 billion.


Allianz RE partners with Gaw Capital in Singapore

Buyer: Allianz RE, Gaw Capital Partners

Seller: M+S, a joint venture between Malaysia’s Khazanah Nasional Berhad and Singapore’s Temasek Holdings

Price: S$ ($1.2bn; €1.1bn)

What to know: As part of its portfolio expansion in what it dubs ‘24/7 megacities,’ Allianz joined Gaw Capital Partners to acquire a premium grade-A office asset with ancillary retail DUO Tower and DUO Galleria in Singapore in July 2019. Owning a 60 percent stake in the asset, the insurer manages the property jointly with Gaw Capital.


Allianz RE acquires office development EDGE East Side Berlin

Buyer: Allianz RE, Bayerische Versorgungskammer

Seller: EDGE Technologies

Price: €400m

Allianz RE made its first equity investment with third-party capital in a JV with Germany’s biggest pension provider, Bayerische Versorgungskammer. The equity commitment to the venture was reportedly around €400 million where the two will split on a 50:50 basis.