REAL ESTATE – Property owner and manager Corio has reached an agreement on the acquisition of a 49% stake in retail centre Citta Fiera in Udine, Italy, paying €87m.

The centre comprises 70,800 square metres of gross lettable area in total, of which 14,800 square metres are not part of the transaction, it said.

Citta Fiera will contribute with retroactive effect to the earnings per share from 1 January 2007, and offers the potential to add value by using its potential for extension, the firm added.

Due to its size and the commercial offering at one site, Citta Fiera is the dominant retail centre in the region, Corio indicated. "It is located near the fair of provincial capital and university town Udine, which has an income per capita of 12% higher than the Italian average. The catchment area has 380,000 inhabitants within a 30-minute drive."

The centre consists of 160 units, several medium-sized stores, an 11-screeen multiplex, two food courts and restaurants. It has 4,000 parking spaces. Among the main tenants are Coin, Benetton and Mega Intersport, Corio said.

A 9,000 square metre Finiper hypermarket, a garden centre and a petrol station are not included in the transaction.

The shopping centre opened in 1992 and its gallery was extended in 2003.

Corio will acquire 47% from Financiere Concorde – which will keep its remaining 51% – and 2% from Finanziaria Bardelli. An amount of €47.5m will be paid in cash, and €38.5m will be paid through a participation in the net debt of the company, it stated.

In addition, Corio will have supervision and will jointly define and share the company’s financial and managerial policy with Financiere Concorde.

"Both parties have agreed that Corio has a pre-emption right on the purchase of the 51%-stake of Financiere Concorde, if it decides to sell the shares to a third party. Moreover, Mr Bardelli will remain managing director, and Corio will share its professional retail expertise," Corio said.

According to Corio, Fianciere, Concorde also owns 450,000 square metres of Citta Fiera’s surroundings, which can be used for future extensions, or retail warehouses, hotels, offices and residential purposes.

Corio is one of the largest listed retail property companies in Europe. Its €5bn portfolio is mainly invested in dominant shopping centres in its core markets: the Netherlands, France, Italy, Spain and Turkey.