EUROPE - TDC has become the fourth Danish pension scheme to sell its commercial property portfolio for shares in the €855m Aberdeen Property Fund Denmark.

The DKK 30bn (€4bn) telecommunications pension scheme sold its €90m portfolio in return for €45m in shares and the same amount in cash.

The deal gives TDC a 13% stake in the fund and will make it the largest investor by a narrow margin.

Aberdeen Denmark chief executive Tonny Nielsen said: "We're seeing quite a few of these kind of deals in the Nordics, especially here in Denmark."

The Danish engineers and doctors pension funds are among those to have already turned over portfolios to the fund.

"It's just a guess - but a strong one - that Danish funds that have historically invested directly in real estate are becoming more professional and acknowledging they don't have that professional capacity or the internal resources to manage direct portfolios," Nielsen said.

"On the one hand, they want diversification. On the other, managing direct property is not their core business. So they opt for an asset manager with the skills in direct property to take care of it."

TDC chief executive Leif Stidsen told IP Real Estate such a deal had long been in the planning, but that the pension scheme had been waiting for the "right investor at the right price".

Aberdeen's was one of a number of offers for a regionally diversified portfolio of high-quality, mainly long-lease office assets.

The pension scheme will continue to manage directly a residential portfolio comprising 1,200 units.

Stidsen said: "We have professional skills in this field, and we also have a critical mass of assets."

According to Nielsen, the Aberdeen fund's international board approved the deal because it would increase diversification within the Danish market and offered a significant proportion with of assets with 30-year leases.

"It's a very good deal for us," said Nielsen. "We know what our investors like and what the market expects."

A further 10% of the portfolio comprises value-added and opportunistic assets, which the fund manager will either develop or sell off immediately.