Merlin Properties has bought the Almada shopping centre, the last asset in Blackstone’s Rio Tejo retail portfolio, for €406.7m.

Real estate services firm JLL, acting for Blackstone, said it sold Almada Fórum in Lisbon to the Spanish REIT (Socimi). The shopping centre, which has gross leasable area of around 82,000sqm, is almost fully let at 98% occupancy.

The Rio Tejo portfolio was put up for sale by JLL in 2017. The portfolio included Fórum Montijo, Fórum Sintra, Sintra Retail Park and Almada Fórum of more than 210,000sqm of gross lettable area.

Earlier this year, Ceetrus acquired Fórum Montijo, Fórum Sintra and Sintra Retail park.

JLL said the sale of the entire Rio Tejo portfolio represents the largest ever portfolio transaction in Portugal at over €900m.

Ismael Clemente, the CEO of Merlin Properties said: “The Almada Forum shopping centre is an example of an exceptional asset which is rarely found in the market. Quality mall shopping is the favourite retail option for Portuguese people.

“Despite competition by new online channels, the mall format continues growing at a very steady pace these days in the Iberian Peninsula and we believe in its future through transformation and adaptation to an ever-changing retail world.”

Mike Bellhouse, the regional director of JLL’s EMEA retail capital markets, said: “Despite challenges in the retail sector, this transaction demonstrates that good quality retail assets in strong locations, providing defensive and resilient characteristics remain attractive.

“We’re continuing to see demand from experienced investors, both domestic and international, for opportunities to acquire assets of scale in new markets.”

Elmar Schoonbrood, a managing director at Blackstone’s real estate business, said: “The sale of Almada Fórum is another successful example of our strategy of buying and stabilising complex assets and portfolios. Through active asset management and key value-add initiatives, Blackstone enhanced the tenant mix and consumer experience across the portfolio.”