A consortium of banks has provided a €900 million refinancing of Qatar Investment Authority’s (QIA) 140,000 square metres Porta Nuova business estate in the centre of Milan.
The five-year loan was sourced by Italian real estate investment manager Coima SGR, which is the asset manager of the estate. The financing has been provided by a club of predominantly Italian banks comprising UniCredit, Intesa SanPaolo, Banco Popolare Di Milano (BPM) and Mediobanca, as well as French bank BNP Paribas.
QIA became the sole owner of Porta Nuova in February 2015 when it agreed to buy the 60 percent of the scheme which it did not already own. The stake was bought from investors including Hines and insurer UnipolSai SpA, according to a statement at the time. The investment structure consists of three real estate investment funds promoted and managed by Coima SGR.
The financing brings the leverage of Porta Nuova to around 50 percent, Coima said.
In June 2014, a club of five lenders provided a €430 million loan to finance seven properties at the heart of the scheme. Unicredit led the consortium, which also included Intesa Sanpaolo, French banks BNP Paribas and Société Générale and US investment bank Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
The assets financed at the time included Unicredit’s 32-storey group headquarters. Unicredit took 50 percent of the ticket for developer Hines Italia. The loan margin was believed to be in the low 200s.
The overall Porta Nuova development recently became fully-let. Tenants include financial sector firms including UniCredit, BNP Paribas and Bank of New York Mellon, as well as tech companies Google and Samsung Electronics Italia, plus fashion, insurance and consultancy firms.
Coima said that rents at the scheme have increased by more than 30 percent since marketing began in 2012. The firm added that, in the last four years, the Porta Nuova project has accounted for nearly 15 percent of the overall office space take-up in Milan.
The project was developed on a 290,000 square metres former rail yard in the central Milanese districts of Garibaldi, Varesine and Isola. It was designed by 30 architects including Cesar Pelli.
“Porta Nuova once again proves to be one of the most important renewal projects in Europe. It has continued growing steadily over the last 5 years and represents one of the most attractive lending opportunities for the banking sector,” said Manfredi Catella, Founder & CEO of Coima SGR.