Swiss Life confirms €150m Milan office buys

Swiss Life has confirmed the purchase of two central Milan offices as reported by PropertyEU last month.

Swiss Life Asset Managers announced on Friday that it has bought the properties at Via Giorgio Washington 70 and Corso Italia 13 from French private investment firm Ardian and its joint venture partner, Italian asset manager Prelios Sgr.

Although Swiss Life did not disclose financial details, PropertyEU understands that the total investment stands at about €150 mln.

Ardian bought the assets in its debut Italian transaction in March 2017 as part of the larger Mirò portfolio acquisition consisting of six office buildings. The purchase was made from local fund, Cloe Fondo Uffici on behalf of Ardian’s inaugural European property fund, AREEF 1.

Over the past one and half years Ardian and Prelios have been actively managing the assets investing in a renovation programme, reducing the vacancy rate and re-gearing the leases. The properties currently provide around 23,500 m2 of rentable space and are 97% occupied.

Ardian, which spun out from AXA as an independent, private company in 2013 and now has $72 bn (€63 bn) assets under management, launched a new business line centred on real estate in 2015. Over the past three years the company has been expanding in France, Germany and Italy.

Its first European fund, AREEF 1, closed in March this year with over €700 mln of equity commitments from nearly 50 investors from 11 different countries. The vehicle has a core-plus/value-added investment strategy.

The deal is the second acquisition by Swiss Life in Italy this year. Earlier in 2018 the group’s asset management arm made its first foray in the Italian hotel property market with the acquisition of the Novotel hotel in Milan Malpensa and a Radisson Blu property, also in Milan. The assets were bought from BNP Paribas REIM, in a deal brokered by CBRE Hotels.

The Milan offices were bought for the insurance portfolio of Swiss Life in France and Germany and a Swiss Life real estate fund domiciled in France.
'These acquisitions, supported by our strong convictions regarding the Milan office market, mark our entry into this segment, and should help provide a strong basis for further acquisitions. The portfolio is stabilized and income producing immediately, with the potential for rental growth in the medium term, in line with the strategy of a long investor such as the Swiss Life Group,' said Fabrice Lombardo, head real estate fund & portfolio management.


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