Syntrus Achmea has made its first direct investment in France, buying a €120m retail portfolio.

The property arm of the Dutch asset manager and pension administrator said it had bought Grosvenor Fund Management’s Retail European Properties II platform.

The deal is the Dutch asset manager and pension administrator’s second direct deal outside of the Netherlands, having invested in Germany’s residential sector last year.

Syntrus Achmea, which has invested in more than 50 unlisted real estate funds through its fund-of-funds vehicles, said it was targeting direct core investments for long-term returns. The manager has a preference for western European markets.

Jagersma said: “We will continue to look for opportunities to acquire more core assets, such as residential and retail properties, in markets such as France and Germany.”

The French platform bought from Grosvenor holds 16 prime high street retail properties, two of which are in Paris, with the remainder in Bordeaux and Toulouse.

Syntrus, which has €14bn of assets under management, said BNP Paribas REIM would manage the 10,000sqm portfolio, which is fully let.

Henk Jagersma, chief executive, said Syntrus expected the properties to outperform as the recovery takes hold in France.

“Prime high street properties in major European cities have been resilient for retailers throughout the recent downturn by continuing to draw shoppers,” Jagersma said.