EUROPE NEWS: Payment in kind

The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) has seeded the launch of a real estate investment company that is being listed on the Italian stock exchange – albeit with hard assets as opposed to hard cash.

The sovereign wealth fund is contributing 96 real estate properties, mainly used as bank branches leased to the Deutsche Bank group, in exchange for 14.45 million shares in the company. COIMA SGR is the former Italian platform of Houston-based developer-cum-fund manager Hines, valued at €144.5 million.

COIMA SGR is expecting to raise an extra €300 million through the listing for the company that will invest in income-producing properties in Italy.

The Milan-based firm intends to use the net proceeds from the listing to strengthen its asset and financial structure, support growth and development targets, and purchase office, commercial, logistics assets such as the Vodafone Village properties in Milan.

The former country head of Hines in Italy, Manfredi Catella, spun the business out of Hines in September and renamed it COIMA SGR.

Currently, COIMA SGR manages 15 real estate investment funds, with investments valued at more than €5 billion. In the last 24 months, the COIMA SGR team has invested more than €1 billion in Italy, mainly on behalf of institutional investors such as QIA, which has a separate account mandate with the firm.

Back in December, the firm acquired the historical building that housed Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, an Italian subsidiary of BNP Paribas, in Piazza San Fedele in Milan for the COIMA QIA fund for an amount in excess of €100 million, PERE understands.

COIMA SGR also made four acquisitions in Milan on behalf of a separate account with Italian savings bank Cassa di Risparmio di Lucca Foundation. COIMA SGR has now finished investing the account, which totalled around €100 million at the end of last year.