Barings, investing on behalf of a pan-European strategy, has acquired a portfolio of hypermarkets across France in a sale and leaseback deal Cora.

The investment manager has paid an undisclosed sum to buy four Cora hypermarkets located in Metz, Mulhouse, Evian and Quincy-sous-Sénart, comprising a total lettable area of 85,876sqm across 400,000sqm of land.

Barings said the acquisition was carried out through the French Barings OPPCI, managed by Edmond de Rothschild REIM France.

Guillaume Bieganski, real estate country head in France at Barings said: “Hypermarkets have remained resilient in recent years, despite headwinds in other retail segments and the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, and we are confident that food-anchored retail, like Cora, will continue to be attractive to investors, particularly in the current inflationary environment.”

Gunther Deutsch, managing director and head of Europe real estate transactions at Barings, said: “This portfolio was a unique opportunity to acquire a portfolio of dominant local retail assets.

“Our preferred sectors across Europe continue to be logistics, office and residential, but the quality of the portfolio, combined with a very strong tenant covenant, excess land and long leases, made it a compelling investment prospect.”

Josselin Granier, group real estate director, at Cora’s parent Louis Delhaize, said: “The terms and conditions of this pure sale-and-leaseback transaction were determined considering the group’s experience of similar deals operated over the last few years for hypermarkets, supermarkets, and shopping malls in various countries. Securing a long-term leaseback with conservative rents and market conditions remains our core strategy.

“We took this decision after thoroughly assessing the quality of each of our real estate assets and we see it as an important leverage for further local development. We look forward to working with Barings as a long-term partner securing and developing our commercial footprint.”

The deal is the first sale-and-leaseback by Cora in France.

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