GERMANY – Regional bank Bayern LB has officially kicked off the bidding process for its real estate subsidiary GBW.

An open bidding process had been one of the European Union's demands for a financial aid package the bank received in the wake of the financial crisis.

Real estate company Patrizia was one of the bidders for the portfolio of 32,000 flats in the highly valued German province of Bavaria.

Bidders have until year-end to file their proposals, and the bank expects to make a decision by spring 2013.

In other news, Union Investment has issued a new German open real estate fund (GOEF) for institutional investors.

With expected changes to the laws governing all open-ended funds, including Spezialfonds, real estate companies are rushing to issue funds before year-end, as those will fall under the protection clause for existing funds.

The new UniInstitutional German Real Estate fund is the second GOEF Union Investment has issued for institutions.

It will be investing solely in Germany and focusing on "smaller assets", broadly diversifying between office, retail and hotel, as well as other sectors such as logistics.

Union said it would target properties with a selling price between €20m and €50m and aim for a fund size of around €500m.

Christoph Schumacher, managing director of Union Investment Institutional Property, which will be managing the new product, said: "Open-ended real estate funds for institutional are an integral part of the solution package Union Investment is offering."

The UniInstitutional European Real Estate fund issued in 2004 has grown to €2bn and is among the largest GOEF for institutions.

Meanwhile, three German real estate companies have teamed up with Japanese asset manager Kenzo Capital Corporation to offer Spezialfonds for German investors focusing on Japanese property.

Together with Metzler Real Estate, iii-investments and Kenzo Japan Real Estate, Kenzo will be seeking around €100m in capital from German institutional investors that will be leveraged to €200m to invest in core properties in Tokyo.

Another Spezialfonds provider going into the German residential market is Secinvest Advisory Partners, a subsidiary of Swiss-based Secinvest.

Using IntReal as a KAG, Secinvest wants to collect between €100m and €150m in equity from institutional investors and family offices in Germany.

The money in the Initium Immobilien Fonds will be leveraged to €200m and invested in German and Austrian residential property in metropolitan areas.