UniCredit sells €800m of real estate

The Italian banking giant is selling and leasing back a large operating portfolio but is keeping a stake in a fund that will own the properties.

Italian bank UniCredit has reduced its exposure to its direct domestic real estate ownership by almost a third by selling 70 branches it operates from to a fund managed by compatriot fund manager Fondi Immobiliari Italiani in an €800 million ($1.09 billion) deal.

UniCredit, which owned all the units of the 15-year fund, has also sold 62 percent of the units in the vehicle to institutional investors for €280 million.

The bank plans to sell a further 5 percent to institutional investors by the end of February but will retain the remaining 33 percent, it said.

The sale of the portfolio was completed as a sale and leaseback, with the bank signing 18 year leases across the assets with options to occupy the properties for a further six years.

In addition to the bank branches, the portfolio includes two offices in Milan.

As part of the deal, UniCredit will have right of first refusal when the properties are brought to market again.

The sale reduces UniCredit’s direct real estate ownership in Italy to about €2 billion.