Corpus Sireo, the German Real Estate subsidiary of Swiss Life Asset Managers, has reported positive results for 2016. In this period, the company carried out property transactions of around €3.1bn. In Germany and other European countries, residential and commercial properties worth around €1.8 bn were acquired for various investment vehicles managed by Corpus Sireo. On the other hand, there were disposals of residential and commercial properties worth approximately €1.3bn. During the same time period, the company concluded or extended leases for a total of just under 459,000 m² of residential and commercial property space. Throughout Europe, Swiss Life Asset Managers in Switzerland, France and Germany carried out property transactions totaling approximately €7.5bn in 2016.
Acquisitions business at a high level
In 2016, acquisitions activities were characterised by portfolio and individual purchases for existing and new fund products. Most of the €1.8bn acquisitions were made in the office and residential service category. While almost €878m went into office properties, residential property portfolios were acquired for almost €595m.
The most important individual acquisitions not only included the Kaufhof headquarters in Cologne and the Schwabengalerie shopping centre in Stuttgart for an institutional investor, but also the Zurich Group’s head office sites in Cologne and Bonn for their own project development. In addition, German healthcare properties worth €160m were purchased for institutional special funds with Luxembourgian structures.
Fund business to be expanded
Corpus Sireo is aiming to increase the fund volume under management more than twice over in the medium term. This segment forms the focus of the company’s growth. With new funds and investment vehicles, it wants to take advantage of its opportunities with institutional investors such as insurance companies and pension funds more actively in the future.
Bernhard Berg, CEO of Corpus Sireo Real Estate, says: “Our parent company, Swiss Life, has defined the investment and asset management business for third parties as the growth engine for the entire Group. Real estate as an asset class plays a key role here. The growth of the Swiss Life Group in the property business will therefore cover all important property markets in Europe. We at Corpus Sireo are therefore focusing on the Scandinavian and Eastern European property markets, as well as those of the Netherlands and Austria. In order to offer our customers their accustomed service levels, we want to be present with our own branches in these regions in the medium term.”
More funds with German asset management company
With the Swiss Life KVG, an asset management company, which was approved by the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) at the end of 2016, Swiss Life Asset Managers and Corpus Sireo are also continuing to expand their activities in the German market for property funds. The new company is launching open- and closed-end property investment funds for institutional investors according to German law. In addition, a mutual real estate fund for private investors was established at the end of 2016 with “Swiss Life Living + Working”.
Ingo Hartlief, CEO of the Swiss Life asset management company, says: “With the Swiss Life KVG, we are accessing further potential in the German property sector on the basis of fund products leveraging social megatrends. In just three months after registering the asset management company in Germany, we have already set up four investment vehicles and acquired properties for each of these funds. By doing so, we have achieved several hundred million euros in assets under management so far. We are pleased to be able to support the development of our fund activities in one of the most important European markets for property funds.”
Disposals still at a high level
Alongside the strong acquisition business, at Corpus Sireo total real estate disposals amounted to €1.3bn in 2016. The largest share of disposals related to properties used for commercial purposes, which accounted for almost €512m of the annual disposals. In addition to deals on behalf of customers such as Cerberus, this also includes the successful disposal of Deutsche Telekom AG properties, which are no longer required for owner occupation.
In 2016, Corpus Sireo also successfully sold assets from its existing fund portfolios. Overall, properties worth almost €265m were sold on behalf of institutional investors. This also includes the disposal of the last major “Sireo Immobilienfonds No 5” sub-portfolio, which was closed with a purchaser group headed by the Singen-based (Berlin) Burkart Group with legal effect from August 2016.