Koreans snap up French shopping mall

SOUTH Korea’s National Pension Service (NPS) said yesterday it would buy a 51 per cent stake in a French shopping mall from Anglo-French property investor Hammerson for around 350bn won (£189m).

The deal is the latest addition to NPS’s growing investments in overseas property assets which include a $767m (£493m) purchase of Sony Center in Berlin, a $160m buy of Gatwick airport in London and a $1.3bn purchase of HSBC’s European headquarters in London’s Canary Wharf financial district.

NPS, the world’s fifth-biggest pension fund, is considering buying additional stakes in the O’Parinor mall near Paris, a spokeswoman in the fund said. The shopping centre, which has more than 90,000 square metres (968,800 sq ft) of space, was redeveloped in 2008 and houses 220 stores including retailer Carrefour, H&M, Zara, and Toys ‘R’ Us, according to Hammerson. NPS, which manages nearly 300 trillion won (£161.8bn) in assets, aims to boost investments in assets such as real estate, infrastructure and private equity funds to 6.4 per cent this year from 4.5 per cent as of the end of November, and has been building a global presence in the past year.