EUROPE - Norway's giant government pension fund has bought a 50% stake in the UK's Meadowhall shopping centre for £348m (€431m), in a deal that values the entire asset at more than £1.5bn, including debt.

The Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global bought the stake from a joint venture between London & Stamford Properties and Greenpark Investments, according to Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), which manages the fund.

Karsten Kallevig, chief investment officer for real estate at NBIM, said: "The purchase gives us exposure to one of the largest and most dominant shopping centres in the UK."

NBIM has also formed a joint venture with British Land, which owns the other 50% of the shopping centre.

British Land will manage the shopping centre on behalf of the partnership, it said.

Meadowhall, near Sheffield, contains 141,000 square meters of retail space over two levels, and consists of 219 shops, 53 kiosks, 30 catering units and an 11-screen cinema.

The shopping centre attracts around 25m visitors a year.

The Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global had total assets worth NOK3.56trn (€480bn) at the end of June.