GLOBAL - The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) has bought a 50% stake in a shopping centre near Melbourne in Australia, following several acquisitions in the commercial real estate sector around the world.

CPPIB, which manages Canada’s national pension fund, acquired Northland Shopping Centre from the real estate company Gandel Group for a total of AUD455m (€338m).

CPPIB partnered with an investment trust managed by Australia’s Colonial First State Global Asset Management (CFSGAM).

The joint venture will see CFSGAM holding the remaining 50% and continuing to manage the property.

Graeme Eadie, CPPIB’s senior vice-president of real estate investments, said: “This investment further diversifies our exposure to the Australian retail market, one that has proven to be resilient during the global financial crisis, and allows us to work with a strong manager in CFSGAM, with whom CPPIB already has an existing relationship.”

Northland is a 92,380-square-metre regional shopping centre originally opened in 1966. A redevelopment project of the centre was completed in November 2009.

The acquisition made by CPPIB and CFSGAM follows the recapitalisation of an Australian shopping centre fund at the end of last year.

At that time, CPPIB and Australia’s Future Fund both agreed to invest AUD750m in total in the Direct Property Investment Fund Retail Sector, which was then renamed CFSGAM Property Retail Partnership.

The Canadian fund manager has also increased its real estate portfolio significantly in recent weeks by making several acquisitions in the retail property market.

Last month, CPPIB acquired a 50% stake in a German regional shopping and leisure centre, CentrO Oberhausen, through a joint venture with the Stadium Group, as well as a 36.9% interest in the Mayflower partnership, which owns a $2bn portfolio comprising 13 regional malls located in the US.

CPPIB managed CAD$10.9bn (€7.8bn) of real estate assets as of 31 March, against CAD$7bn over the same period last year.