EUROPE – Italian real estate company Prelios has sold a portfolio of 18,000 flats in Northern Germany in a strategic move to reposition itself in the “premium, high, value-added” segment of shopping centres and high-street retailing in Germany.

The residential properties had been bought in 2007 for the Solaia RE joint venture, 60% owned by Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management and 40% by Prelios.

It was sold for almost €900m to Austria’s Immofinanz, equalling 13.6 times the 2013 revenue from leases of the more than 1m sqm in lettable space.

With the properties, the Austrian real estate company also bought Prelios’s German residential asset and property management with approximately 300 employees.

This is the final step in the spin-off of Buwog, the residential subsidiary of Immofinanz, which will now be listed in Vienna, Frankfurt and Warsaw, as is its parent group.

Immofinanz will continue to hold 49% in Buwog to begin with, but this stake is “expected to be reduced over the medium term”.

“With this acquisition, Buwog will reach its strategic goal to line up a portfolio of standing investments equally distributed between the core markets of Austria (51% of the residential units) and Germany (49%),” Immofinanz said in a statement.

Buwog’s portfolio now comprises around 54,000 units, with 3.72m sqm of usable space and a gross asset value of €3.49bn.

Daniel Riedl, chief executive at Buwog, added that taking over Prelios’s asset and property management business would allow the Austrian company to increase cost efficiency in its German operations.

“In addition, all existing mandates for the property management of approximately 33,000 third-party-owned residential units will be transferred to Buwog,” he said.

Meanwhile, German real estate company Patrizia has announced the closure of yet another million-euro deal after having snapped up two portfolios from regional banks over the last years.

This time, Patrizia bought the so-called Leo-I-Portfolio, consisting of 18 buildings worth around €1bn from Commerz Real.

The 396,000 sqm distressed portfolio bought by Patrizia’s alternative investments division will be brought into a newly launched Spezialfonds.

A Patrizia spokesman told IP Real Estate: “Investors in this Spezialfonds are a group of Pensionskassen, insurers, Versorgungswerke, savings banks, foundations and church institutions.”

In autumn last year, Patrizia had already bought the Leo-II-Portfolio in Hessen, with 36 properties worth around €800m, also for a Spezialfonds.