Enpam, the Italian doctors’ pension fund, has invested €137m in the country’s retail sector.

The Italian institution said it had bought an 80% stake in a fund holding three shopping malls from Auchan at a 7% yield.

The centres are held in the Antirion Retail fund, run by Italian SGR (Societa’ Gestione Risparmio) fund manager Antirion.

Enpam president Alberto Oliveti said Enpam felt reassured by the fact Auchan remains a co-owner and shares the fund’s interests. Auchan holds the 20% stake through its wholly-owned Gallerie Commerciale Italia (GCI) vehicle.

Oliveti said the purchase was made as part of a move to diversify the fund’s real estate portfolio.

The malls – in Mestre near Venice, Verona’s Bussolengo and Mesa, Brindisi – are anchored by Auchan hypermarkets.

In the previous cycle, Enpam sold properties to the likes of RREEF and Pirelli Real Estate (now Prelios).

For Auchan, the sale comes two years after it took complete control of the GCI vehicle, buying out joint venture partner Simon Property Group.