Azerbaijan snaps up second Europe property for $179 mln

LONDON Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:50am EST

LONDON Dec 20 (Reuters) - Azerbaijan's state oil fund has bought an office and shop complex in the heart of Paris for 135 million euros ($179 million), three days after clinching its debut property deal in Europe.

The country's $33 billion fund bought the 5,400 square metre property in the Place Vendôme district, a short walk north of Paris's Tuileries Gardens, from the property unit of French insurer AXA Group, the company said on Thursday.

The property contains office, shops and homes within an 18th century French Baroque mansion and an office block from the 1950s, AXA Real Estate said. Tenants include luxury jewellers, legal firms and financial services companies.

Azerbaijan, an oil-producing nation sandwiched between Russia and Iran on the western coast of the Caspian Sea, bought a central London block for 177 million pounds ($288 million) from RREEF Real Estate, the property arm of Deutsche Bank on Monday.

In recent years several sovereign wealth funds have spent billion of pounds on shops and offices in Europe's financially strongest cities London and Paris.

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