Denmark’s largest private pension provider, PFA Pension, has formalized its agreement with South Korea’s Public Official Benefit Association (POBA), and European real estate investment manager PATRIZIA to invest DKK 2.6 billion (about $385 million) in a predominantly French-focused portfolio of logistics properties.

The transaction is one of PFA’s largest international property investments, and is the single largest logistics investment that PFA has ever made.

News of an intended co-investment between PFA and POBA had been announced in October, reflecting PFA’s expectation of a “general increase” in foreign real estate investments in coming years.

“With this investment with two recognized partners, we have ensured that pension savers will benefit from the stability offered by property investments over time, while also benefitting from growth within logistics and e-commerce,” Michael Bruhn, PFA’s Head of Real Estate, said in an official statement.

The portfolio consists of 42 logistics properties, of which 17 are located in France, 11 each in Italy and Spain, and 3 in the Netherlands. Major tenants include French retail giant Carrefour and logistics providers Easydis and Geodis, Spanish refrigeration storage firm Logifrio, and Dutch discount retailer Leen Bakker.

Per PFA, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Environmental, Social and Governance policies were incorporated into the contractual framework.

As of 2019, PFA’s total allocation to alternative (unlisted) investments exceeds DKK 100 billion (about $15 billion).

Mega-trends

Continued growth in European logistics features on a shortlist of secular mega-trends informing PFA’s outbound property investments. PFA noted that e-commerce has grown 300% in Europe alone since 2010, while leasing activity of warehouse and other logistics properties has increased 150% during the same period.

Following the deal’s formalization, POBA CEO Kyong Ho Han said: “This agreement with PFA, a preeminent institution of Europe, will not only provide the cornerstone for catapulting POBA into the European market as a major player but also serve as an exemplary model of cooperation between global investors.  The co-investment opportunity will enable POBA and PFA to jointly harness the high potential for growth in the European logistics space and mark the advent of an enduring strategic partnership between the two organizations.”

Last week, PFA announced its first direct property investments in France with the DKK 3.4 billion purchase of the historical Square d’Orleans office and residential property, as well as 1,300 serviced senior housing units across the country.

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