Merlin Properties buys Blackstone's Almada Fórum

Spanish REIT Merlin Properties has acquired Almada Fórum from Blackstone, in a deal which values the entire Rio Tejo portfolio at over €900 mln - making it the largest-ever portfolio transaction in Portugal.

The Rio Tejo portfolio originally comprised three prime shopping centres and a retail park. Almada Fórum, with a price tag of €407 mln reported in the media, was the last property in the portfolio to be sold.

'Almada Fórum is an award-winning, dominant trophy asset benefitting from a unique location and strong performance. Comparable to a number of prominent shopping centres across Europe, Almada Fórum appealed to a wide range of core international investors reinforcing confidence in the Portuguese market,' commented Fernando Ferreira, head of capital markets at JLL Portugal, which brokered the sale on behalf of Blackstone.

The Rio Tejo portfolio included Fórum Montijo, Fórum Sintra, Sintra Retail Park and Almada Fórum, covering more than 210,000 m2 of gross lettable area with 542 domestic and international tenants.

'Despite challenges in the retail sector, this transaction demonstrates that good quality retail assets in strong locations, providing defensive and resilient characteristics remain attractive. We’re continuing to see demand from experienced investors, both domestic and international, for opportunities to acquire assets of scale in new markets,' said Mike Bellhouse, regional director, EMEA retail capital markets at JLL.

'The sale of Almada Fórum is another successful example of our strategy of buying and stabilising complex assets and portfolios. Through active asset management and key value-add initiatives, Blackstone enhanced the tenant mix and consumer experience across the portfolio,' concluded Elmar Schoonbrood, managing director, real estate, at Blackstone.


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