M&G JV buys Italy’s largest retail park for €208m

The deal for the Market Central Da Vinci in Rome is also the largest single European acquisition by M&G, the London-based investment arm of pension fund Prudential.

M&G Real Estate, the investment arm of UK pension fund Prudential, and real estate asset manager GWM Group have formed a joint venture to buy Market Central Da Vinci, Italy’s largest retail park, for €208 million.

The deal for the 570,000 square foot Rome-based retail park marks the largest single European acquisition made by the London-based real estate fund manager. It is understood that, under the terms of the deal, M&G will be the majority shareholder in the partnership.

Market Central Da Vinci is located five kilometers from the center of the Italian capital and is within a 30-minute drive for 1.7 million people. It is fully let to a tenants including Nike, H&M, Decathlon, Leroy Merlin and Maisons du Monde.

The deal was made using capital from M&G’s Core Real Estate Property Strategy, an investment vehicle managed by partners David Jackson and Simon Ellis.

“This joint venture with GWM Group has allowed us to increase our average transaction size, with Market Central Da Vinci being the largest single acquisition we have made in Europe to date. Having raised significant capital in 2015 and 2016, and deployed it across several jurisdictions and asset classes, we have further diversified the portfolio and provided our investors with stable, long-term income driven returns,” said Ellis.

“Market Central Da Vinci presented a unique opportunity to invest in a high-quality retail park with a strong track record of rental growth and the prospect to build extensions. The scheme fits in with our continued European strategy to acquire prime assets in core locations and major cities,” added Olivier Vellay, head of investment, Continental Europe at M&G.

In August, M&G acquired three European office assets and a retail property for a combined price of €190 million. The assets are located in Paris, Barcelona and Copenhagen and were also purchased on behalf of the firm’s Core European Property Strategy.

In July, following the European Union referendum result in the UK, M&G became the third firm to suspend trading in one of its open-ended real estate vehicles after a run of redemptions from jittery investors.

Since March 2015, M&G has deployed around €865 million of capital in continental Europe, with acquisitions made in Italy, Spain, Denmark, Germany, Portugal and France.