GLOBAL - Aviva Investors has sold Aviva Investors Australia to nabInvest, National Australia Bank's asset management business, for an undisclosed sum.

Aviva Investors Australia, which has roughly AUD5.5bn (€4bn) in assets under management, specialises in the active management of Australian equities and listed property.

Aviva Investors chief executive Alain Dromer said the deal was part of his company's strategic focus on cross-border sales and expanding its business in Asia through its Singapore regional hub.

The company's regional headquarters has been relocated to Singapore.

Craig Bingham, chief executive for Asia Pacific, will be leaving the company following a "transition period", while Erich Gerth, chief executive of Global Business Development, has taken on the role of regional chief executive.
The deal is still subject to regulatory approval.

In other news, Australia-based Westfield Group has expanded into Continental Europe after agreeing to buy a 50% interest in a major development site in Milan, Italy.

The company said the site had planning approval to develop a regional shopping centre "similar in scale and quality to Westfield London".

The 60-hectare site, adjacent to Milan's Linate airport, will be acquired through a joint venture with Gruppo Stilo, an Italy-based developer.

Westfield will invest €115m in two stages to acquire a 50% interest in the JV, with €65m invested initially and a further €50m to be invested when the development begins. 

It said the project would represent a total investment of €1bn-1.25bn, with a target yield of 7-7.5% and an unlevered internal rate of return of 12-15%.

Frank Lowy, chairman at Westfield, said the deal marked "significant step" in the company's global expansion.

"It follows our announcement regarding the World Trade Centre opportunity in New York recently and our entry into Brazil earlier this week," he said.

Finally, Pramerica has acquired three assets worth a combined £28.6m (€32.6m), including the ground leases of two landmark Central London buildings.

The first asset is the ground lease on Vintners' Place, Upper Thames Street, London - a high-profile, 265,000 square-foot prime office building in the City of London - for £10.5m. The lease is subject to an unexpired term of 128 years.

The second is the ground lease on the Great Northern Hotel, King's Cross, London, for £12m. The Great Northern Hotel is a core, Central London asset close to King's Cross and St Pancras stations.

The third asset is the ground lease portfolio of 184 residential holiday homes in the Cotswolds for £6.1m. The leases on each unit are more than 970 years.