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Qatar’s fund buys Milan Porta Nuova business district

After buying a 40 per cent stake in 2013, the Arab fund has acquired the whole site

Qatar’s fund buys Milan Porta Nuova business district

Claudia Astarita

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Milan Porta Nuova business district has a new owner: the Persian Gulf emirate's sovereign-wealth fund has eventually agreed to buy the 60 percent stake it did not own in this area to further expand its Italian real estate holdings.

The Porta Nuova district covers an area of 290,000 sqm, which are strategically located a couple of kilometres away from the Duomo. This urban redevelopment project has been thought to reconnect the districts of Garibaldi, Varesine and Isola to the city centre, creating new offices, retails spaces, residential apartments together with new urban infrastructures and public spaces. Aiming at strengthening efficiency and innovation, Porta Nuova has been shaped with the highest quality and energy standards, which have transformed the district into a unique example of an eco-sustainable and mixed-use urban environment not only in Italy rather all across Europe.

In 2013, Qatar Holding announced the signature of a strategic partnership with Porta Nuova's developer Hines Italia SGR to a 40 percent stake in the project made of newly issued share. At that time, the remaining 60 percent stake in the project were left to other sponsors. Among them, the major financiers are the Hines European Development Fund, UnipolSai, the Italian investment funds MHREC, HICOF, COIMA as well as the Italian banks Intesa Sanpaolo SpA, Unicredit and Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA.

A few days ago, Manfredi Catella, the head of Hines Italia SGR, announced that after more than six months of negotiations the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar had eventually become the sole owner of Porta Nuova, buying the remaining 60 per cent of the property for an undisclosed sum. Many analysts believe that the Italian investment has been approved to both diversify the fund's global portfolio in general, and to increase its participation in the Italian real estate market in particular. As regards the transaction, the only things we know are that none of the investors earned less than 30%, regardless of when they entered the project, and that Porta Nuova has a market value of over two billion euros.

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