CANADA - Primaris Retail REIT has acquired five shopping centres in three of Canada's provinces for CAD570m (€415m), increasing the fund's overall assets by one-fifth.

The properties, in which Primaris now owns a 100% stake, were bought from fund manager Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec and mark a "meaningful" increase in the REIT's portfolio, chief executive and president John Morrison said.

"We expect these acquisitions to be accretive to our funds from operations per unit," he said. "We are extremely pleased to add these investments to our core portfolio."

Morrison singled out Oakville Place and Burlington Mall in Ontario as particularly important acquisitions, as they fell within the greater Toronto region and would allow the company to grow its presence in the country's largest consumer market.

They accounted for more than two-thirds of the total $572m transaction value, he added.

However, the single-largest development part of the deal is Place Vertu in Montreal, at 738,000 square feet, close to a third the leasable space in the five properties.

The deal will partially be financed by a bridge loan, to be replaced by several mortgages once arrangements have been made.

Primaris estimated a five-year, $108m mortgage would be agreed for Burlington Mall, and a decade-long, $115m mortgage would be in place for Oakville Place.

All objects have vacancy rates in the low single digits, with Tecumseh Mall in Ontario reported the highest vacancy rate of 6.1%.

According to the latest regional breakdown, 44% of Primaris's assets are located in Ontario, with Alberta a distant second at 16%, followed by British Columbia and Quebec. It's single-biggest client is the retail group HBC.