EUROPE - Cordea Savills last week announced that it had found a cornerstone institutional investor for Italian Opportunities, a closed-end Luxembourg real estate SOPARFI.

The fund is looking to raise €200m for single-asset and portfolio acquisitions identified from the open market by the fund’s Milan-based team. It will target 20% annual returns.

Fund manager Gerardo Solaro del Borgo said interest had come primarily from investors looking to gain exposure to Italian property with an independent fund. “We have a European base and an Italian structure, but we’re independent of any bank,” he said.

Del Borgo – who, at Deutsche, was responsible for the launch of the country’s first real estate fund – compared Italy to emerging Eastern European markets. He said it was characterised by a lack of transparency, the prevalence of off-market transactions and high levels of owner-occupation. In addition, market opacity increases the risk of mispricing.

The fund will repackage “portfolios that have slipped under the radar of the larger opportunity funds” and reposition single assets and portfolios.

“Investors are interested not just in what you buy but how you buy,” said del Borgo. “The product is ready and it meets the standards of institutional investors.”

He added: “There are no limits. We’ll be looking at retail, commercial and – eventually – residential.”

Cordea Savills has €2.5bn in assets under management.