GERMANY – VPV, together with another undisclosed insurer, is planning to make its first foray into the commercial real estate loan market through the financing of a shopping centre in Berlin.

VPV said, by 2015, it expected to pay out as much as €80m to Hamburg-based project developer ECE.

The loan for the construction of the so-called Linden-Centre is to run for 15 years.

In the coming years, and with the support of Deloitte’s Debt Advisory Team, the insurer said it aimed to build a credit portfolio worth “several hundred million euros” but not much more than €500m.

It said it was also open to co-operations with banks and other insurers, but added that it had no desire to lead a consortium.

“We have taken sufficient time to build a reliable and professional investment process,” it said.

In recent years, insurers in Germany, as well as pension funds and particularly Versorgungswerke, have moved to provide alternative sources of real estate financing in overcrowded core property markets.

These institutions have moved increasingly into project development as well, replacing many banks that have pulled out of financing due to new regulatory requirements under Basel III.