Henderson acquires French, German retail centres

On behalf of its retail property fund, the London-based global asset management firm has purchased a shopping centre in a suburb of Paris and a retail centre in Germany for a total of €100 million.

Henderson Global Investors has acquired the Galerie des Ailes shopping centre in Le Blanc Mesnil, a suburb of Paris, and Real Hypermarket and Gallery in Dreieich, Germany, according to an announcement by the firm. The London-based asset management firm purchased the properties on behalf of its €930 million Henderson European Retail Property Fund (HERALD) for a total of €100 million.

In France, the 118,403-square-foot Galerie des Ailes shopping centre was acquired from partners Immobiliere Frey and LeClerc in a transaction that involved a forward commitment for the development of the centre, which opened on 5 October this year. Galerie des Ailes, which is 90 percent occupied, includes leading tenants Sport Direct, Espace Culturel and La Grand Recre and is anchored by an 86,111-square-foot owner-occupied LeClerc. It is located close to the A1 motorway, which links Paris to Charles de Gaulle Airport.

David Turner, fund manager for HERALD, said: “The purchase in Le Blanc Mesnil represents an investment in the current market, where the supply of prime shopping centres in France is extremely tight. The acquisition finalises the fund’s strategy to increase its weighting to France, where the outlook for returns still looks attractive.”

In Germany, the 247,569-square-foot retail warehouse was acquired by HERALD as a forward commitment with the vendor responsible for a €16 million complete refurbishment of the centre, which will be monitored by Henderson's in-house development team. The centre, which is fully leased, is anchored by Real and Decathlon. 

“The purchase at Dreieich was agreed as a forward commitment 12 months ago,” said Turner. “The property provides the fund with secure, long-term income and a high distribution yield boosted by the attractive finance terms available in Germany for this type of asset.”

HERALD was launched in December 2005 to acquire retail warehouses, shopping centres and city centre retail properties. The fund, which closed in March 2007 with more than €700 million in equity, focuses on Eurozone countries, primarily Germany, France, Spain and Italy. It currently owns 20 assets across eight countries.