GWM joins Italian acquisitions trend

GWM Group bought Italy’s largest, prime retail park over the summer, at a 9%-plus yield, in the latest sign of reviving international interest in the country’s real estate market.

GWM paid €130m for Da Vinci Market Central, near Rome airport, beating offers from the likes of Orion Capital Managers and Rockspring.

The 56,000m2 park was sold by AIG/Lincoln, which developed and opened it in 2008 and held it through the downturn. Its tenants include H&M and Nike.

The deal was financed at a 45% loan-to-value ratio with a five-year loan from Natixis and ING. The margin is about 400 basis points over Euribor.

GMW managing partner Gennaro Giordano said the deal fitted GWM’s strategy to “acquire prime, well-performing assets in Italy and across Europe and capitalise on the scarcity of investment capital available in the real estate sector”.

The financial services group has acquired property worth €400m for clients since January 2012 and has another €300m-€400m of equity to invest.

Other international investors making bank-debt-backed Italian acquisitions include Blackstone, which is buying Aberdeen Asset Management’s Franciacorta Outlet Village near Brescia, with debt from Goldman Sachs, in another €100m-plus deal.

Goldman Sachs also backed Morgan Stanley’s purchase of around a 50% stake from French hypermarket giant Auchan in a €600m portfolio of 13 Italian shopping centres and galleries.

Earlier this year GWM provided part of an £85.5m, two-and-a half year construction loan, with Helios Capital, for the Aldgate Tower on the City fringe and also invested £30m with Och-Ziff in a £700m sale and leaseback with Spire Healthcare.