UPDATE 1-Norway's oil fund buys into Generali's Paris real estate
* Partnership concerns five high-end properties in Paris
* Initial assets worth 550 mln euros
* Norwegian fund paid 275 mln euros to Generali
* JV could be replicated in other countries-Scotti (Adds interview with General Real Estate CEO, details)
OSLO, July 5 (Reuters) - Norway's sovereign wealth fund and Italian insurance giant Assicurazioni Generali have formed a joint venture that will manage high-end properties worth 550 million euros ($680.95 million) in central Paris, they said on Thursday.
Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), which manages the country's oil fund, said it would pay 275 million euros to Generali to purchase a near 50 percent share in five top Parisian properties, which the Italian insurer will continue to manage.
"The transaction will increase our exposure to high-quality properties in central Paris," said Karsten Kallevig, NBIM's chief investment officer for real estate.
The properties, used as office and retail space, have a total surface area of almost 40,000 square metres.
Giancarlo Scotti, Chief Executive of Generali Real Estate, said the partnership could be the model for future joint real estate investments elsewhere
"This deal concerns Paris. But in general, we have the ambition and the wish to replicate this initiative also in other European countries," Scotti told Reuters.
Scotti said Generali Real Estate had several European markets on its radar screen and considered the German market quite interesting.
Generali Real Estate, established in 2011 as manager of General Group's property assets, handles a real estate and infrastructure portfolio worth 28 billion euros and is present in ten countries across Europe and Asia.
Norway's oil fund holds assets worth about 3.6 trillion Norwegian crowns ($599 billion) according to the fund's website.
As of the end of March the fund held just over 60 percent of its assets in equities, 39 percent in fixed income and 0.3 percent in real estate. Its strategy is to raise its real estate assets to as much as 5 percent of its overall portfolio. ($1 = 0.7994 euros) (Reporting by Mia Shanley and Lisa Jucca; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter and Greg Mahlich)
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