Showing maximum presence in France
Euragone Asset Management, Union Investment's long-standing French asset management partner, played an important role in assembling the company’s real estate portfolio in France following market entry in 1999, and successfully managed the properties. The first investment in France was the acquisition of the Maison de La Défense office property in Paris, which still forms part of the portfolio today. France was the third foreign market to be tapped by Union Investment after the US and UK, with the focus initially being on office investments. Hotel and retail properties were subsequently added. Alongside La Défense, the first major investments included 100,000 sq m of rental space in Boulogne-Billancourt and a further 33,000 sq m in Central Seine.
The acquisition of French asset management company Euragone saw Union Investment continuing an established partnership. An option had been agreed with Euragone from the start to acquire the company at a later time. “This enabled us to successfully implement our strategy of having a strong market presence of our own in France,” explains Dr. Kutscher.
Located in the fashionable 16th arrondissement, the new subsidiary – Union Investment Real Estate France SAS – took over management of the France portfolio on 1 January 2011 under the leadership of French property expert Dominique Dudan. In July 2015, she was succeeded by Tania Bontemps (MRICS), who has been a member of the management team since the company was founded. Today, a total of 13 employees manage 18 properties worth some EUR 2.4 billion, which equates to around 9 per cent of total real estate assets. With a valuation of approximately EUR 2.1 billion, the 14 properties in the French capital make Paris the company’s most important investment location worldwide, well ahead of London.
“Our major advantage as a German investor is that we carry out all asset management and investment activity ourselves in country,” says Tania Bontemps. The crucial skill set around project acquisition in particular has been taken to a new level in Paris. One example is the Kinetik office building, which was acquired at the project stage. Completed in 2013, its BREEAM rating of Very Good and HQE Bâtiment Durable rating of Excellent are proof of its first-class construction quality. Additional outstanding development projects in Paris are Meliá La Défense, fully let to Meliá International Hotels, one of the best hotel addresses in La Défense and the speculative Grand Central office project at Saint-Lazare station in the 8th arrondissement of Paris .Thanks to close collaboration with the real estate teams at headquarters in Hamburg, the French subsidiary makes an important contribution to successful implementation of the company’s international real estate strategy.