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China wealth fund buys US$1.4b of European properties

[BERLIN] China's sovereign wealth fund bought retail properties in France and Belgium valued at about 1.3 billion euros (US$1.4 billion) from a fund managed by CBRE Global Investors.

China Investment Corp acquired the properties with affiliates of AEW Europe, according to a statement Monday. The deal includes two shopping centers near Antwerp, Belgium, as well as malls, a retail park and other stores across France, CBRE Global Investors said.

International investors are buying retail properties in continental Europe to take advantage of a nascent economic recovery. Offices, shops and logistics buildings valued at 87.3 billion euros changed hands in the first quarter, 25 percent more than a year earlier, according to data compiled by BNP Paribas Real Estate.

The properties sold by the CBRE fund have 221,000 square meters (2.4 million square feet) of space rented to retailers including H&M and Zara, according to a separate statement from AEW Europe.

The returns on CIC's overseas investments fell for a second year in 2014 as a strong dollar and weak commodity prices eroded the value of its holdings, the Beijing-based company said in its annual report published July 3.