Bain buys from Amundi in 2nd direct property buy in Italy

US private equity group Bain Capital is believed to be the buyer of a portfolio of five office properties in Italy in what is believed to be its second direct property buy in the country.

Bain is paying just over €94 mln for the assets, which are only partly occupied and will require significant capex investment to be brought up to standard.

The value-add transaction – which was tipped by PropertyEU last month - reflects an average 26% discount to the properties’ latest market value per end June 2019. The properties include Henkel Group's 17,500 m2 head office in Milan’s Via Amoretti as well as the headquarters of mobile phone giant H3G Wind in Rome, a multi-let office at Milan’s Viale Monza 338, the head of office of Sony in Italy in Cinisello Balsamo and another office in Casalecchio di Reno near Bologna.

With the signing of the preliminary agreement, Bain has paid €9.5 mln, while the remainder will be disbursed upon completion of the deal planned for 29 February. Vitale&Co is advising the buyer.

The properties are largely held by the Amundi RE Europa fund in liquidation, while three assets are held jointly with the Amundi RE Italia fund. French investment giant Amundi appointed Lazard late last year to sell all the assets owned by its Amundi RE Europa and Amundi RE Italia funds which come to maturity at the end of 2021. The vehicles were expected to complete the disposals at well below acquisition cost largely as a result of the high vacancy rate - 30% across the two funds - as well as the assets’ secondary locations.

The largest property in the portfolio is the H3G Wind head office in Rome’s Via Alessandro Severo, last valued at €44 mln. The 14,200 m2 fully-let complex in Rome was bought in 2011 for just over €52 mln by Amundi RE Europa and generates annual rents close to €4 mln. It was sold for just over €30 mln.

Bain has grown aggressively in Italy in recent years, swooping in particular on a number of toxic portfolios. The US giant entered the country's non-performing loans market in 2017 with the acquisition of Heta Asset Resolution Italia (Harit), the bad bank of Hypo Alpe-Adria Bank, including assets worth €570 mln.

Last month, Bain signed the acquisition of €200 mln of property assets from Italian lender Banca Popolare di Vicenza (BPVI) in administration. The deal – Bain’s first direct property transaction in Italy - took the form of a share transaction involving Immobiliare Stampa, the property arm of BPVI, which was put into administration in June 2017.

The package, which was put up for sale in May last year, comprises more than 200 buildings, including two trophy assets – BPVI’s offices on Milan’s central Via Turati and on Rome’s Via del Tritone.

A portion of the assets has been leased back to lender Intesa San Paolo, which has become a minority shareholder in Immobiliare Stampa after taking over the performing part of the BPVI business last year. The deal includes a platform of 20 Immobiliare Stampa professionals which will continue to manage Bain's real estate portfolio in Italy, together with the group's existing ACS (formerly Hypo Alpe Adria) team in the country.

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