| LONDON, March 20
LONDON, March 20 The real estate arm of Allianz
is paying about 375 million euros ($483.2 million) for
its 50 percent stake in a joint shopping malls venture with an
Austrian property company, a source close to the deal said.
Allianz, whose 21.8 billion euros of property under
management includes the Porta di Roma mall in Rome and the
Europa Passage shopping centre in Hamburg, had announced the
tie-up earlier this month but did not disclose the price.
The venture is worth about 750 million euros in total, the
source said, and is likely to be one of this year's largest
retail property deals.
Europe's largest shopping malls have weathered the European
retail sector's problems better than many town centres and
smaller malls because of their dominant position in local
Allianz's joint venture with developer SES Spar European
Shopping Centers will control seven European shopping malls.
Austria's biggest mall developer will use the funds to expand
its portfolio of 26 malls in Austria, Italy, Slovenia, Hungary
and the Czech Republic.
The deal is due to complete in July.
Allianz described the unnamed malls, which are located in
Austria, Slovenia and Italy, as being located in established
retail locations with good transport links.
SES will continue to manage the sites.
A spokesman for Allianz declined to comment on the 750
million euro figure.
SES malls include La Brentelle in Padua, Citypark in
Slovenian capital Ljubljana and Q19 in Vienna, according to the
Property experts say shopping malls will have to evolve to
maintain their appeal amid Europe's economic difficulties and
the rise of online shopping.
Their landlords will have to provide services that cannot be
replicated on the web, like health centres, to survive the
online onslaught, property experts told Reuters at the MIPIM
real estate event in Cannes, France, last week.
The real estate arm of insurer Axa, which manages
43 billion euros of assets, said 90 percent of forecast retail
sales growth in Britain, France and Germany between 2012 and
2016, or 91.5 billion euros, is expected to be online.
($1 = 0.7760 euros)
(Editing Jane Barrett and David Holmes)