GERMANY - Allianz Real Estate is aiming to sell €1bn in small and secondary assets in Germany within 18 months as part of its ongoing project to double its portfolio to €30bn.

The real estate investment arm of the Allianz insurance group is seeking to offload roughly 100 German properties, many located in second or third-tier cities, by the end of 2011.

The institution has re-orientated its real estate strategy to focus on high-quality assets in major, liquid and transparent markets around the world with long-term growth prospects, necessitating the German disposals.

Allianz Real Estate is also looking to increase the size of its real estate exposure from €17bn to €30bn within four years.

The investor is focusing on euro-zone markets, where it will have an 80% (approximately €24bn) portfolio weighting, but it is also examining opportunities arising in the US market, where it hopes to allocate 10-15%.

In April, James Stolpestad joined from GE Real Estate to head up Allianz Real Estate's newly opened US office.

Earlier this week, Allianz Real Estate appointed former Aareal Asset Management chief executive Charles Pridgeon as chief investment officer to run its global platform for investment decisions.

Allianz Real Estate has made €1.5bn in acquisitions so far this year as it seeks to reach its €30bn target, including the recent purchase of Rotterdam shopping centre Beursgallery.

The asset was sold by Pramerica Real Estate Investors on behalf of an IVG fund for €86.5m, according to Real Capital Analytics.

Olivier Wigniolle, chief executive at Allianz Real Estate France, said: "As we are constantly looking for high-quality assets in prime locations, we are pleased we have been able to successfully enter the retail Dutch market with the acquisition of the well-established, first-class retail property 'The Beursgallery'.

"This centre is the fourth retail asset to be acquired by Allianz Real Estate in Europe since the beginning of the year, which is according to our investment strategy to further expand this asset class in our portfolio."

The latest acquisition will go some way toward helping Allianz Real Estate reach another of its targets - increasing its exposure to the retail sector from its current level of 10% to 25% by 2013.

The increased weighting to retail properties will coincide with a reduced allocation to offices, which Allianz Real Estate plans to bring down from 65% to 45% over the same period.

Residential assets will also be reduced by 5 percentage points to 15%, while 'other' assets will drop from 5% to 15%.

Allianz Real Estate is also planning to increase its indirect investment portfolio, which currently represents only 5% of its entire portfolio.

It will invest in funds that focus on specialist asset classes, such as logistics, as well as enter into senior debt investments and joint ventures, taking its indirect exposure up to 20% by 2013.