Finland’s Varma has hired Catella Asset Management to manage and sell assets in a 110,000sqm property portfolio.

Varma said it is selling the assets located in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area (HMA) as well as in other growth areas.

Ilkka Tomperi, Varma’s investment director for real estate, said: “This arrangement is part of Varma’s strategy where we have aimed to increase the average size of our direct real estate holdings to be better aligned with our total assets under management.”

The Helsinki Metropolitan area consists of the cities of Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen.

Catella Asset Management is setting up a new property fund, Pegasus Real Estate, as part of the mandate, and the new fund will own several of the real estate assets from the Varma portfolio.

The manager said it would effect the property sales in conjunction with Catella Property, another company within the Catella Group.

The aim is to develop and sell the assets of the portfolio during the coming years, Varma and Catella said.

Tomperi said Varma had several real estate construction and development projects going on at the moment, or starting shortly, and that these would shape the company’s future portfolio composition.

“During 2018 we expect to invest around €150m in domestic real estate projects,” he said.

Eero Syväniemi, chief executive of Catella Asset Management, said: “The co-operation with Catella Property Oy enables us to execute sales both in HMA and in smaller municipalities.”

Last November, Varma — one of the country’s two largest pension insurance companies with €45.4bn of assets at the end of September — bought its first office property in Helsinki’s central business district (CBD).

Tomperi said at the time that Varma was focusing strategically on owning assets “in excellent locations” and was therefore filling its offering with a prime CBD location it had missed before.