TORONTO - Canada Pension Plan Investment Board is spending $177 million to buy a half interest in a Swedish shopping mall, the fund manager's first real estate investment in the Nordic region of Europe.

The Kista Galleria, a mall north of Stockholm's central business district, has 185 shops and restaurants as well as a cinema, bowling, indoor go-cart and other leisure activities.

The Canadian pension fund manager's partner is Citycon Oyj, a Finnish company that owns and operates shopping centres in the Nordic and Baltic countries.

"We look forward to partnering with Citycon on future investment opportunities in the region as we continue to expand CPPIB's retail portfolio in Europe," Graeme Eadie, a CPPIB senior vice-president, said Wednesday in a statement.

CPPIB describes the Kista Galleria as "one of the largest and most successful shopping centres in the Stockholm area."

It generates annual sales of over 280 million euros from about 18.1 million visitors per year.

The shopping centre underwent a complete renovation and large extension in 2002 and was further expanded in 2009.

"Both parties consider Kista Galleria to be the first step in an ongoing joint investment platform," said Nils Styf, Citycon's chief investment officer.

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board invests the funds not needed by the Canada Pension Plan to pay current benefits.

CPPIB invests in a variety of assets, including publicly traded stock, private equity, real estate, infrastructure and fixed-income instruments such as bonds.