December 31, 2003

Simon Malls To Italy

Simon closes on $227.3 million Italian mall partnership

Simon Property Group closed on a $227.3 million (182 million euro) deal today through which it will own and develop malls in Italy.

The payment gives Simon a 49 percent interest in the 38-mall portfolio of Italian developer Rinascente Group. Simon has also acquired a similar-size stake in Rinascentes future development opportunities under the joint venture, which is called Gallerie Commerciali Italia. Those new developments could total up to 6 million square feet over the next five years.

The centers, which range in size from 35,564 square feet to 547,840 square feet, are in various Italian cities and mostly anchored by Auchan hypermarkets. A joint venture of Auchan, a French company, and The Agnelli Group, an Italian investment firm, controls Rinascente.

Simon's equity investment was funded by a three-year, unsecured term loan at LIBOR plus 60 basis points, provided by Bank of America, Citicorp, J.P. Morgan and UBS. Simon is the largest U.S. mall owner, with 245 retail properties in the United States. It also has holdings in nine Canadian, French and Polish centers.

Simon is not the only U.S. developer to recently make a foray into Europe. The Mills Corp. opened the 1.4 million-square-foot Madrid (Spain) Xanad in May. Mills is also looking for development opportunities in Italy.

Posted by Craig at December 31, 2003 04:31 PM