FRANCE - Rodamco Europe has agreed to acquire a large shopping and leisure centre under development in the Le Havre harbour area, the firm has announced.

The €10.6bn company said it has signed an agreement with Vinci Immobilier and ING Real Estate Development to purchase the Docks Vauban for €97m.

The former Le Havre docklands will be entirely renovated and developed into a 66,000 m2 complex, also including cultural facilities. Based on the purchase price, the expected initial yield is approximately 6.5%, Rodamco said.

Of the total retail area, 50% has already been pre-let to tenants such as Gaumont, Planete Saturn, Baobab, H&M and Plein Ciel, Rodamco stated.

According to the company, the developers have retained Vinci Construction to be in charge of the renovation and refurbishment works, which have already started. Completion is scheduled for late 2008.

Rodamco is the largest listed investor in and manager of retail property in Europe, focusing on dominant shopping centres in the Netherlands and Belgium, the Nordic countries, France, Spain and Central Europe.

Approximately 60% of Rodamco’s assets have been invested by institutional investors, of which the two largest Dutch pension funds ABP and PGGM having stakes of 11.5% and 24.5% respectively.

A Rodamco spokeswoman declined to comment on the company’s views for the French market but it last year added an extension of its Paris’ retail centre Parly 2 to its pipeline projects.