New foreign investments target the Belgian and U.S. real estate markets.
Ilmarinen has invested in the companies Bastion Tower I and II, which own the Bastion Tower high-rise office building in Brussels. Ilmarinen has roughly a 50 per cent stake in the investment. The investment represents a joint venture with a French institutional investor.
“Our strategy is to internationally diversify our real estate portfolio. The future of the Belgian real estate market is bright, so when we were offered the opportunity to make a long-term investment in an ideal site in Brussels, we seized it,” says Portfolio Manager Mikko Antila.
Bastion Tower, built in 1967 and later modernised, is located in the immediate vicinity of the so-called Europe Area of Brussels. Approximately 35,000 square metres of floor space is available to let in the 26-storey building, and it has roughly 20 tenants.
Schroder Real Estate acted as advisor in the acquisition and will also handle the asset management of the property.
“Favourable outlook for the U.S. housing market”
Ilmarinen has also started investing in the U.S. housing market, with the goal of building a diversified real estate portfolio comprising some 400 single-family homes in roughly ten metropolitan areas. The houses to be purchased are located in the south-eastern and southern areas of the United States as well as in the Midwest, all areas where the economic situation is good and employment is on the rise.
“The U.S. housing market is making a comeback after hitting rock bottom a few years ago. This gives long-term investors like us an excellent opportunity to secure stable and predictable returns,” says Antila.
Aalto Invest, an investment management firm operating in the United Kingdom and the United States, is Ilmarinen’s partner in the project. Aalto Invest has in-depth knowledge and years of experience of the U.S. housing market.
At the end of 2014, the value of Ilmarinen’s real estate investments stood at around EUR 4.5 billion, including investments in real estate companies. The majority of the company’s real estate investments are in Finland. Ilmarinen intends to increase the share of real estate investments in its portfolio over the next few years, primarily through foreign real estate investments.