EUROPE - Helios Europe, the European specialist logistics developer backed by UK pension funds, has entered into a €1bn joint venture with Eindhoven-based developer and investor HG Property Group.

Helios Europe will provide investment capital for HG Property's logistics developments, initially focusing on the Benelux region.

The British Airways and West Midlands pension funds are investors in Helios Europe, via specialist fund manager Mansford Real Estate.

The move will enable Helios Europe to expand on its existing logistics development pipeline, estimated to be in the region of 1.2m square metres.

Helios Europe was formed in January 2010 by Michael Hughes, former director and co-owner of Helios Properties, which he co-founded in 1996 with the backing of a Saudi Arabian investor.

Mansford was established in London in 1995 and is a leading privately held absolute return European real estate investor, owned and controlled by its management.

HG Property, was set up in early 2009 by former professional footballer Jan Heintze and ex-Goodman executive Nathan Gouka.

The company has an existing portfolio of logistics schemes in Breda, Eindhoven and Roosendaal.

Hughes said the venture with HG Property was a logical step in the further development of a Helios Europe's European portfolio.

"This strategic alliance jointly strengthens Helios Europe and HGP in the European logistics real estate market," he said.

"HGP provides unique insight and experience in the Benelux market, and Helios Europe and HGP can share complementary skills and a knowledge base in the wider European logistics sector.

"All indicators show we stand at the beginning of a new growth phase, and this joint venture helps cement our market position."

Heintze added: "This alliance offers us a unique opportunity to set the next step in our company development.

"It has never been more important, at this time of financial uncertainty, to give our potential customers the financial confidence they need to commit to new warehouse facilities. This alliance will underpin substantial new growth for both parties."