REAL ESTATE - Aberdeen is targeting Nordic pension funds with a fund to be invested mainly in French real estate.

The fund management firm made its first acquisition for the Aberdeen Fund France and southern Europe last week, paying GE Real Estate "in excess of" €200m for an office building in La Défense, Paris.

The block is fully let to aluminium producer Alcan under a nine-year lease.

The asset type – a landmark office in a prime location – sets the tone for likely further acquisitions, according to Jacques-Yves Nicol, international director and Aberdeen head for southern Europe.

"It’s the exact kind of asset we want – good quality, well located, well leased, and with a financial return," he said. However, he added: "It’s difficult to pre-determine what we will buy."

The fund’s primary focus will be France, making up 65%. It will invest the other 35% "selectively" in Spain and Italy, although "these are not an immediate priority", Nicol said.

Asset-wise, around 70% of the fund – described by the firm as "core to value-added – will be invested in office, with further investments in retail, logistics and light industrial.

Geographically, the fund has "mixed criteria – it could be office in France and retail in Spain," said Nicol. The fund’s target size is €500m, with target leverage of between 50—60%

The largest customer base of the fund to date has been from Nordic pension funds, although Aberdeen also plans to target northern European and specifically UK pension funds. Eventually, it will also market the fund to investors in the Middle East and Asia.