UPDATE 1-France's Unibail in German shopping centre deals
* Unibail to pay 383 mln eur in property deals
* Deals to close in Q3, boost recurring EPS (Adds detail from statement, background)
PARIS, June 14 (Reuters) - French property group Unibail-Rodamco SE is betting on the resilience of German consumers with a 383 million euro ($482 million) deal to expand its shopping centre business into Europe's biggest economy.
An agreement with the Perella Weinberg Real Estate Fund will give Unibail 51 percent of a holding company that owns 90 percent of Germany's second-largest shopping centre operator and developer, mfi AG, Unibail said on Thursday.
Unibail will also buy 50 percent of Ruhr-Park, one of Germany's biggest shopping centres, from the Perella Weinberg fund. Unibail added that it would finance the purchases from existing bank facilities.
"The German economy benefits from strong fundamentals with low household indebtedness, low unemployment and expected wage growth which are expected to drive consumption growth," Unibail said in a statement.
"The German market is one of the most sought-after markets for retailers and offers one of the lowest shopping centre densities in Europe."
Unibail, Europe's largest real-estate investment trust and owner of 74 shopping centres in cities including Paris, Madrid, Prague, Amsterdam and Warsaw, derives two-thirds of group revenue from shopping-centre rental income.
The total value of underlying real estate assets in the transaction amounts to 1.5 billion euros, with an estimated development pipeline of 530 million euros, Unibail said. This included 10 standing and future shopping centres.
Unibail and the Perella Weinberg fund will initially have joint control of mfi AG, whose portfolio includes five major shopping centres and which provides management, leasing and development services for 20 further German shopping centres.
However, Unibail will have the option to gain full control of the business between June 30, 2014 and Jan. 1, 2015, while the Perella Weinberg fund can sell its 49 percent stake for 288 million euros between July 1, 2014 and March 31, 2017.
The partners have also agreed to work together on future investments in Germany to create a major player in the shopping centre sector there, Unibail said.
The French company added that the transactions were expected to close during the third quarter of 2012 and that they would boost its recurring net earnings per share immediately. ($1 = 0.7953 euros) (Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Dominique Vidalon and Elaine Hardcastle)
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