Two of Europe's biggest commercial real estate firms have united to blaze a retail future together.

Paris-based Rodamco Europe N.V. and Rotterdam-based Unibail Holdings S.A. is now the largest pan-European commercial real estate company with a market capitalization of roughly $29 billion. The new company will also be the largest owner of retail space in Europe with a portfolio consisting of 95 shopping centers totaling 47.9 million square feet.

“We are combing the best of two worlds…and are focusing very much on development,” says Maarten Hulsoff, CEO of Rodamco Europe.

“Products have become very scarce and expensive and development is the way to make a profit in this business,” he says.

Rodamco currently has 10.8 million square feet of retail in its development pipeline, but is prohibited from developing it, Hulsoff says. However, the combined company will be able to develop more than 16 million square feet for a total expected investment of $8.3 billion.

The expanded development pipeline will be roughly twice the size of the combined company's competitors and is expected to deliver an estimated $719 million of additional rental income.

“We will intensify our relationship with retailers,” says Guillaume Poitrinal, chairman & CEO of Unibail. “Any American and any Asian retailer can knock on the door, and we can provide them with any opportunity in Europe.”

The combined company will operate in 14 countries throughout Europe with retail centers representing more than 75 percent of its total business and offices representing the remaining 25 percent. It will own 10 of the top 25 shopping centers in Europe including the two largest in Europe — Forum des Halles and Les Quatre Temps. Both properties are located in Paris.

Today, 47 percent of the portfolio is concentrated in France, 22 percent in the Netherlands, 11 percent in both Spain and Nordic countries and 9 percent in Central Europe. The combined company's office will be in Paris with its international headquarters in the Netherlands.