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Allan Saunderson is managing editor of Property Finance Europe and a contributor to GlobeSt.com.

PARIS-BNP Paribas Real Estate is expanding its indirect vehicles’ offering across Europe, launching a new closed-end institutional fund, Next Estate, focused on sustainable assets, and a new OPCI French mutual fund. The group, previously Atisreal, will also expand private equity and asset management on behalf of third parties in three new countries – Luxembourg, Belgium and Spain, and is separately evaluating a sale and leaseback fund in Italy.

Next Estate, BNPP RE’S third institutional fund, will be a pan-European vehicle focused on office assets constructed on sustainable development criteria in Europe and UK. It targets €600 million of investment using maximum debt leverage of 50%, with the first closing scheduled in first quarter 2010. The private savers’ OPCI will be placed on the French market in 2010, subject to authorisation by Supervision Authority AMF, to pursue a long-term inflation protection policy, investing in office in France and in Europe. In Italy, BNP Paribas REIM is also evaluating the establishment of a sale-and lease back fund.

“Our aim is to propose to our clients a complete quality service and add-value that benefits from the strengths of each of our local operations,” said François Benfeghoul, deputy MD of BNP Paribas Real Estate. “With the three new countries completing our geographic coverage, will manage today a total of €10 billion of real estate assets in Europe, of which €1.8bn were contributed by Fortis Private Real Estate.” BNPP bought FPRE earlier this year.

Separately, BNP Paribas REIM’s Fondo Immobiliare – Comune di Milano I fund in Italy said it has sold its single asset – at via Giannone 8 in Milan – to a private operator. The real estate complex, to be fully renovated, was purchased by the fund last year within the scope of an improvement project launched by the City of Milan. The asset was sold at auction for €7.9 million , bringing a gross profit of €2.1 million over book value, or 37%.

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