GERMANY - Frankfurt-based SEB Asset Management (SEB) has further expanded its German property holdings with the purchase of a major office building in Cologne which adds €75m to the group's existing €132bn assets under management.

SEB said buying into the Cologne market was a strategic move as the city, Germany's fourth-largest, has seen demand for office space grow in recent years as its commercial property market has flourished.

Cologne has prominent financial services and media and communications markets and with the Belgian-Dutch banking group, Fortis, already leasing 53% of the acquisition from June 2009, SEB is confident the deal will benefit investors, including its existing pension fund investors.

Following other recent acquisitions in Poland, this six-storey building in Cologne, called the Caecilium, will be added to SEB's ImmoPortfolio Target Return fund - an international open-ended property fund SEB launched in 2001 -  in October 2009.

Aimed exclusively at institutional investors, the ImmoProperty Target Return is a long-term investment vehicle focused primarily on Europe.

More spcecifically, it has returned 77.59% since it was launched and has already achieved 5.07% in the year to date, despite market conditions and confidence about the German office market.

SEB's objective is to ensure stable returns for the fund with the lowest possible fluctuations in value by acquiring high-income commercial properties primarily in Germany's economically-profitable metropolitan areas, and through a balanced mix of tenants, lease durations, property sizes and ages.