SCANDINAVIA - AXA Real Estate Investment Management (AXA REIM) has increased its retail investments and expanded its team in the Nordic and Baltic regions.

AXA REIM has purchased two retail portfolios in Sweden for approximately SEK1.2bn (€110m) on behalf of managed funds.

The Stora Bernstorp portfolio, a 37,000sqm retail park located in Malmö, was bought for the German open-ended fund AXA REIM Immoselect and the Hansa City portfolio, made up of 27,000sqm retail space in Kalmar, was purchased for the German Special open-ended fund Axa Immosolutions from Sveafastigheter for SEK420m.

The firm's Stockholm office, directed by Jerôme Arnaud, was opened in 2007 to help develop the investment management business in Scandinavia and currently manages around €950m of assets in Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark.

As part of its push, AXA REIM has also announced the appointment of Stefan Timan as head of Nordic and Baltics acquisitions, Duncan Hoare as asset manager and Henrik Hansen as an analyst for the Stockholm office.

A spokesperson for AXA REIM said: "They are all new positions. There has been no change in strategy. We are developing our presence in the region."

Timan, 38, joined the AXA REIM from IVG Sweden, where he was managing director since 2006. Hoare, 28, was previously working at NB Real Estate in London as a property management surveyor, while Hansen worked as an analyst at NEP partners.

AXA REIM has also revealed it is also expanding its presence in Asia and plans to open an office in India in 2010.

Pierre Vaquier, chief executive of AXA REIM, said: "In order to provide further diversification opportunities to our clients, we are currently extending our activities into Asia with local offices in Tokyo and Singapore and intend to grow quickly investing and accessing capital in the region."

The firm set up its Asian headquarters in Singapore in September 2008 to help establish the company as a global player and take advantage of opportunities in the Asian markets.

Frank Khoo was appointed global head of Asia and is currently developing investment platforms in Japan and India and helping launch Asian Investment funds.

AXA REIM completed €5.7bn of transactions in 2008 on behalf of clients, of which €3bn were investments and €2.7bn were disposals. Acquisitions made in 2008 included Rivas Futura Retail Park in Spain by European Retail Income Venture II and the Marseille Clinic Portfolio in Germany by Alternative Property Income Venture.

Sales made in 2008 included St. Jacobs Park Soccer Stadium in Basle, Switzerland and the Batigere residential portfolio in France.

Axa REIM had €40.2bn worth of assets under management at the end of 2008.

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