Calpers, the US’s biggest pension fund, which this week unveiled the steepest drop in its assets in its 80-year history, has agreed to buy back a portfolio of 86 US shopping centres for $1.73bn, about $1bn less than it sold it for four years ago.

Calpers, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, and its joint venture partner First Washington Realty, will buy a majority stake in the shopping centres from Macquarie Countrywide Trust, the indebted Australian group that bought the portfolio for just over $2.7bn in 2005.

The deal – Calpers’ first significant real estate transaction for more than a year – came within days of the pension fund revealing that its property assets had fallen 36 per cent and its total asset value had dropped 23 per cent to $180.9bn since the end of June last year. Its total property portfolio is worth $20bn.

Financial Times