PVE Capital has bought a portfolio of non-performing real estate loans in Italy as the country’s market continues to attract capital.

The asset manager said the portfolio had a gross book value of €408m.

A private financial institution sold the portfolio, which includes secured loans against residential property across Italy.

Gennaro Pucci, PVE Capital founder, said its investors saw the Italian market at an “inflection point”, with low interest rates likely to drive investors into residential property.

“We are optimistic we can repeat this type of investment opportunity, as we know there is still a considerable number of Italian NPLs on good-quality properties offering investors excellent underlying collateral at a fair price,” Pucci said.

Italian assets, he added, can offer “superior” returns compared with other peripheral assets.

PVE will work with special situation servicer Centaurus to manage the loan servicing process. 

Prelios Credit Servicing will act as master servicer for the vehicle.

PVE said the Italian economy needed further credit inflows to help ease pressure on its constrained banking system at a time when good-quality Italian residential property is attractive to savers looking for value in a near zero interest rate environment.

The deal is one of Italy’s largest NPL transactions in the past year.

Banks and other lenders, under increasing pressure to improve balance sheet stability, are selling non-core assets.

PVE estimates there is more than €300bn of NPLs outstanding in Italy’s banking system.

Prelios and US-listed firm Fortress last month agreed to buy an Italian bad bank and loan book from UniCredit.

The joint venture will buy the Italian bank’s holding in the UniCredit Credit Management Bank (UCCMB) unit, as well as a €2.4bn book of small and medium-sized loans. 

The sale is due to complete in the second quarter.

HIG Capital has also bought non-performing loans in Italy, recently acquiring its second portfolio through its Milan office.