Blackstone has paid AUD613m (€396m) for three Australian shopping centres from listed company Vicinity Centres.

The transaction was part of Vicinity Centres’ sale of a portfolio for AUD841m, with the fourth being acquired by Australian property trust Mirvac for AUD228m.

Vicinity, which announced the deal in a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange, said Blackstone had agreed to buy two malls in Victoria and one in Queensland.

Blackstone and Mirvac have a close working relationship, and have been linked in an ongoing bidding war for the Investa Office Fund.

A source close to Blackstone told IPE Real Estate: “Blackstone continues to be interested in Australian assets and will acquire when it sees good value.”

The source said Blackstone is keen to build up a sizeable portfolio in Australia and continues to closely monitoring opportunities where it can add value to assets. Its real estate portfolio in Australia is now worth more than AUD4bn.

Blackstone intends to sell assets occasionally when it sees opportunities to take profits, the source said. Last week, the company sold a portfolio of home improvement centres for AUD220m to Aventus Property Group.

The sale price reflects a discount of around one per cent to the combined book value of the four assets at 31 December 2015, and a weighted average capitalisation rate of 7%.

“This major transaction, the second in our divestment programme of approximately AUD750m to AUD1bn of assets, is another strong outcome for Vicinity,” said Angus McNaughton, CEO and managing director.

Last week, Vicinity agreed to sell its Indooroopilly Central, a shopping mall in Indooroopilly, in Queensland to a private investor for AUD85m.

“In a little over three months since we started marketing the first tranche of our divestment programme, we have made substantial progress reshaping the portfolio. We have achieved this at favourable pricing with transactions agreed totalling AUD926.4m,” said McNaughton.

Michael O’Brien, Vicinity’s chief investment officer, said the divestment would free up significant capital. In the short-term, sale proceeds will be used to repay debt.

“Over time, this capital will be reinvested into value-accretive development and acquisition opportunities, further enhancing the quality of our portfolio,” he said.