Allianz Real Estate has entered a joint venture with Charter Hall Group in Australia to acquire a A$648m (€399m) portfolio of logistics assets owned by German grocer Aldi.

Aldi, which built the four distribution centres in Sydney and Melbourne seven years ago, has signed leaseback arrangements, with initial terms of seven years plus multiple seven-year options.

Allianz Real Estate, acting on behalf of several Allianz group companies, has formed the equal partnership with the unlisted Charter Hall Prime Industrial Fund to buy the portfolio in a deal believed to be the largest logistics sales transaction in Australia this year.

Rushabh Desai, Asia Pacific CEO of Allianz Real Estate, told IPE Real Assets that this investment provides an “attractive long-term cash yield secured by high-quality assets in proven micro-locations and backed by excellent credit and strong covenants”.

“Demand for logistics in Australia is underpinned by growth in e-commerce, increasing international trade and the resilience of non-discretionary retail spending,” Desai said, adding that the investment would “provide our investors with an attractive distribution yield”.

“Our strategy since 2016 has been to align our investments with secular megatrends in the region,” he said.

“Logistics has been one of our conviction sectors in the region, further validated by its resiliency during the current market environment,” he said.

Desai said: “We are an existing investor in two Charter Hall managed funds, one office and one industrial. In the past, we also had a JV with Charter Hall to own 2 Market Street (the Allianz centre) in Sydney. We monetised this a couple of years ago.”

At the end of 2019, about 30-35% of the Asia-Pacific Allianz portfolio was made up of logistics assets.

“We continue to explore more risk-adjusted logistics opportunities in the current year,” Desai told IPE Real Assets.

Richard Stacker, Charter Hall’s CEO for industrial and logistics, told IPE Real Assets that with this transaction, Charter Hall had acquired A$2bn worth of industrial properties in the past 12 months.

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