FRANCE - ÆRIUM is seeking to raise €50-60m in third-party equity to invest in prime retail real estate opportunities in France.

The pan-European property fund management group has launched the France-focused ÆRIUM Vendome I fund, the first in a series of niche funds under the investment manager’s Special Opportunities umbrella.

ÆRIUM launched the Special Opportunities umbrella fund, a Luxembourg-regulated FCP, to capitalise on immediate opportunities in the market.

Further funds to be launched will include a UK trophy asset fund and a German retail fund that will take some refurbishment and leasing risk.

By launching small funds, ÆRIUM aims to invest quickly and work closely with investors to ensure the strategy for each vehicle always reflects current market conditions.

For the French fund, ÆRIUM will use gearing to provide it with €100m-120m to invest in retail properties, targeting an internal rate of return of 9-11% after all fees and aiming to pay a quarterly income distribution of 5-6% of contributed capital.

The investment strategy will focus on retail properties in and around Paris, as well as on high street and edge-of-town units in the main regional centres with large catchment zones and a successful retailing history.

ÆRIUM has been investing in France for 22 years, and the Paris team currently manages more than €1.4bn of assets and 600 tenant relationships across its retail and office portfolio.

Daniel Bendavid, chief investment officer at ÆRIUM France, said: “We are seeing continued appetite from investors to acquire French retail real estate.

“This is the right time to invest in this asset class, and we are extremely confident our team of real estate professionals in Paris will be able to deploy the capital quickly and generate the target returns for our investors.”