Carlyle in €320m Italian real estate deal

Carlyle Group, the Washington DC-based global private equity firm, has acquired 230 Italian properties from its Carlyle Europe Real Estate Partners fund in a €320m deal alongside IMMOFINANZ.

Carlyle Group has teamed up with Austrian property company IMMOFINANZ to acquire 230 properties from Italy’s San Paolo IMI Group in a transaction with an investment value of about €320 million ($416 million).

The properties cover a total area of 270,000 square metres and are primarily located in northern Italy, mainly in the cities of Milan, Bologna, Padua, Mestre, Venice and Turin. Approximately 30 percent of the properties are residential apartments and 70 percent are commercial buildings, including office, retail and parking.

“The San Paolo IMI portfolio fits perfectly with our investment strategy to acquire office, retail and commercial buildings in main European cities,” says Guido Audagna, managing director of Carlyle. “We are delighted to acquire the portfolio and we believe that our proactive approach to asset refurbishment, repositioning and sales will enable us to manage this portfolio effectively.

In a statement, Carlyle said it would sell a selection of the fully long-term leased properties over the next year as a portfolio, and added that it planned to carry out “minor works and refurbishment” on a number of the properties.

Carlyle closed its €430 million Europe Real Estate Partners fund at the end of 2003. Since then, it has made 20 investments in France, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Belgium and the UK. The latest deal in Italy follows the acquisition last year of a €230 million property portfolio from the country’s Ministero dell’Economica e delle Finanze.

IMMOFINANZ, which has invested in the deal through its IMMOWEST subsidiary, is headquartered in Austria and listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange. The company has invested in 905 properties covering a total area of 3,541,370 square metres in Austria, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and some neighbouring countries in Central Europe.

The Carlyle/IMMOFINANZ consortium received financial advice on the deal from Lehman Brothers and legal advice from Clifford Chance. DLA&Partners acted as financial and tax adviser, while Patrigest provided evaluation and technical due diligence.