Berwin Leighton Paisner and De Pardieu advise world’s 5th largest pension scheme on €230m Paris real estate deal

UK-French cooperation by law firms help seal deal for National Pension Scheme of Korea

LEADING law firms Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) and De Pardieu Brocas Maffei have advised the world’s fifth largest pension scheme on a €230 million acquisition of a French retail development in a complex international deal.

They acted for Rockspring Property Investment Managers, the investment arm of the National Pension Scheme of Korea (NPS), in its acquisition of a 51% stake in the O’PARINOR shopping mall in France.

The stake was bought from Hammerson, the largest stakeholder, and the two sides have agreed that Hammerson can sell a further 24% in autumn 2011.

To tackle the complex cross-jurisdiction issues the BLP team, led by real estate partner Chris de Pury  and assisted by partners Juliet Thomas and Adam Bogdanor, worked closely with a team at its preferred law firm in France, De Pardieu Brocas Maffei, led by Pierre Gebarowski.

The deal is the fourth BLP has advised on for NPS, with three property acquisitions totalling over £1bn already completed. These deals included the £772m acquisition of the HSBC tower, the acquisition of 88 Wood Street and a 50% stake in 40 Grosvenor Place, all in central London.

Mr de Pury said: “This was a complex piece of cross-border work, requiring a great deal of coordination and cooperation between BLP and De Pardieu, given the many jurisdictions involved.

“BLP was delighted to be able to draw on the expertise of Pierre Gebarowski and his colleagues at De Pardieu Brocas Maffei.

“It proved yet again that BLP and the preferred firm network has a seamless international real estate offer.”

O’PARINOR is located in Ile de France, around 10 miles from central Paris, and provides retail space to over 200 brands, including Carrefour, H&M, Zara and Sephora, across 194,000 sqm.

It has a 96 per cent occupancy rate and was given a major refurbishment in 2008. The NPS can expect a yield of over 8 per cent for the next five years.

Hammerson will retain the asset management role for the new joint venture. At 30 June 2010 the centre was valued at €432m and net income from the property in 2009 was €21.8m.

Herbert Smith and Gide were the legal advisers to Hammerson.

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