EUROPE - Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) and Generali Real Estate have set up a joint venture to invest in core real estate in Paris and have exchanged a 50% stake in a €550m portfolio.

The deal is the latest in a series of large transactions and joint ventures undertaken by NBIM to build up a significant real estate exposure for the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global.

The joint venture will focus on large office and retail buildings in Paris, but it may be extended to cover other European markets in the future.

The joint venture has been created "with a long-term strategy", according to Generali, which will manage the real estate portfolio and coordinate investment operations.

Karsten Kallevig, chief investment officer for real estate at NBIM, said: "We are pleased to partner with an institution of Generali's calibre and hope to expand the relationship in the years ahead."

He added: "The transaction will increase our exposure to high-quality properties in central Paris."

The seed portfolio of office and retail assets represents 38,600 sqm of space, including 100 Avenue des Champs-Elysées.

Giancarlo Scotti, CEO at Generali Real Estate, said: "We are proud to partner a top financial institution like Norges Bank Investment Management in an alliance that is the best acknowledgment of Generali Real Estate's expertise and market know-how."

The Norwegian sovereign wealth fund already owns interests in a large Paris office portfolio managed by AXA Real Estate Investment Managers. Last year, it entered into a joint venture with the fund manager.

The NOK3.61trn (€483bn) institution is targeting a real estate allocation of 5%.