Italian insurer Gruppo Cattolica Assicurazioni is investing in a €300m sale-and-leaseback fund.

Savills Investment Management launched the fund, dubbed Mercury, which will buy retail assets from Italian supermarket chain Conad.

Gruppo Cattolica Assicurazioni and Conad will hold 51% and 49% stakes, respectively, in three sub-funds of Mercury managed by Savills IM.

Giuseppe Oriani, managing director at Savills IM’s Italian SGR, said the company had traditionally focused on the development of initiatives aimed mainly at foreign investors in the Italian market.

The fund is structured to allow the three cooperatives to sell and lease back €300m worth of retail properties in central and northern Italy on long-term leases.

The venture has taken a €170m loan from Banca IMI (Gruppo Intesa) and Unicredit.