GLOBAL - AFIAA, the global property investor owned by 18 Swiss pension funds, is aiming to make real estate investments in Japan and India before the end of 2010.

The Swiss Foundation for International Real Estate Investments is currently in the process of building up a A$400m (€280m) exposure to Australian commercial property as its first step into Asia Pacific.

To date, the company has a number of direct investments in Europe and North America, but chief executive Hans Brauwers said it was looking to diversify and look for counter-cyclical opportunities.

He ruled out China as the next step in AIFAA's expansion into Asia Pacific because of its lack of transparency, but said India was especially attractive from a counter-cyclical viewpoint.

Brauwers said Australia, by contrast, was "very transparent" and home to a number of very high-quality buildings, especially in terms of environmental considerations.

The company's latest acquisitions include two offices in Australia.

In March, it paid A$94m for Leighton Holding's HQ South Tower, an office block in Brisbane with the highest environmental rating available in the country.

In November, it acquired the Atrium office building in Sydney for A$137m.

Brauwers also revealed AIFAA had an office building in the UK under offer and may look for further investments there.

The company has also followed the recent trend among institutional investors of targeting core properties in the mature markets of Europe by launching a second investment group, EuropeCore, in November 2009, but the AIFAA said it was still committed to building a globally diversified portfolio.

AIFAA is owned by Swiss pension funds including the country's largest BVK, the civil service insurance fund of the canton of Zürich.

Others include the Zug Pension fund, Pension Fund of the Gastronomy and Hotel Business and Pension Fund of the Swiss TV and Radio Enterprise.