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SWEDEN-Continuing to gobble up this Nordic nation’s real estate stock, German-based Oppenheim Immobilien KAG has purchased a quintet of high-end retail assets from international construction giant Skanska Commercial Development. Acquired for $74 million USD, the 258,000-sf portfolio marks the sixth deal completed recently in Sweden by Oppenheim and is reflective of a solid market for retail space, says Cecilia Fasth, the president of Skanska’s Fatigheter Goteborg division.

“We are seeing demand from tenants as well as from investors, and accordingly, we are continuing to focus on developing new projects,” says Fasth. The merchant-building strategy described by Fasth is similar to the approach that has become popular among US contractors and developers in the past 12 months as a way to create a regular income stream, including several well-known shopping center developers. Fasth’s group is part of the Skanska Nordic region, an entity that has offices in Gothenburg, Oresund and Stockholm and does business in Denmark and Finland as well. Besides retail, the firm is also active constructing office and industrial space in the region.

The assets traded to Oppenheim are fully leased, including two centers that will open this summer. All the properties are described as being in markets that have performed impressively, benefiting from one of Europe’s most stable economies and a super-low inflation rate. The country’s healthy financial condition offers hope of near-term upside, according to the new ownership, which already controls 1.3 million sf of commercial real estate in Sweden assembled from the previous acquisitions.

Most of the space acquired through Skanska is new, while one property that previously had been sold into a joint venture was completed in 2005. Located in the city of Malmo, that shopping center known as Jellinge 1, had been owned in partnership with RBS Nordisk Renting. The four other properties now in Oppenheim’s portfolio are Medlingen 3 in Lund; Generatorn 11 and Eklanda 1:107 in Molndal; and Backa 23:2 in Hisings Backa, a section of Gothenburg.

Headquartered in Stockholm and listed on the Swedish Stock Exchange, Skanska has 56,000 employees worldwide and reported sales valued at $17 billion USD in 2006 from projects in development or completed throughout Europe, Latin America and the US. Oppenheim Immobilien Kapitalanlagegesellschaft mbH is part of IVG Immobilien, which operates 30 property funds invested throughout Europe. The funds cover about $13.4 billion USD of investments.

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