NETHERLANDS - Property investor VastNed Retail returned €48.4m during the first quarter, mainly thanks to a 79% rise in indirect results, it said.

The company expects the direct investment results over the whole year to be slightly higher than in 2006, and there were no divestments in the first quarter.

The average occupancy rate of VastNed’s portfolio dropped by 0.1% to 96.8%, as a result of the acquisition of properties in France and Spain, which are expected to be rented out soon.

According to the company, its lowest occupancy rate is in Belgium with 95%, while properties in Portugal and Turkey are fully occupied..

VastNed said it expects to invest €150m in 2007, through pipeline projects and existing investments.

VastNed Retail which has invested assets totalling €1.8bn, invests in individual retail objects, shopping centres and large-scale business retail centres in core markets of the Netherlands, Spain, France and Belgium, as well as placing some assets in Turkey as a growth market.

Meanwhile, €1bn VastNed’s offices and industrial operation reported first quarter results of €11.4m, down from €15.6m in the first quarter of 2006.

It made a net loss of €5.2m on the €44.9m sale of TriNovium, a complex of offices and business premises in Nieuwegein in the Netherlands.

The company said to expect a slight but continuing improvement of its occupancy rate and its direct investment results during 2007.

The average occupancy rate increased by 1.3% to 84.8%. At the end of March, the rate had risen to 90.3%, including five mainly empty objects in Belgium, which are expected to be sold in the second quarter, VastNed indicated.

It made clear its acquisition policy will focus on expanding the portfolio of liquid office space with an investment volume of €200m.

VastNed Offices-Industrial invests in offices, business premises and logistical centres in the core countries the Netherlands as well as the Belgian and German growth markets.