MILAN: Qatar’s sovereign fund has taken control of one of Italy’s prime business areas after buying out other shareholders in a move hailed as heralding a new era of inward investment for the recession-bound country.
Property group Hines Italia announced yesterday that the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) had taken 100 per cent control of the Porta Nuova district in Milan, in which it has held a 40pc stake since 2013.
Hines, insurer Unipol and several investment funds were among the selling shareholders in a 25-building development conservatively valued at more than two billion euros ($2.2bn).
Media reports said initial investors in the project had cashed out with a 30pc profit in their pockets.
The district of Porta Nuova, which takes its name from an early 19th century Napoleonic gate, was subject to one of the most ambitious programmes of urban regeneration ever undertaken within the historic centre of a major European city.
Situated barely a kilometre from Milan’s iconic Gothic cathedral, the district is home to a number of landmark buildings including the cutting-edge headquarters of Italian bank Unicredit and the “Bosco Verticale” (Vertical Forest), a complex of two award-winning residential skyscrapers.
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