Real estate investor and manager, Cromwell Property Group (ASX:CMW) (Cromwell), through its local in-country and pan-European teams, completed an off-market acquisition of CLOM (Centro Logistico Orlando Marconi), an intermodal logistics park located in Italy, for Cromwell European REIT (CEREIT) on Wednesday 23 December 2020. The park has been acquired by Cromwell EREIT Management Pte. Ltd., the Manager of CEREIT.
The park contains net lettable area (NLA) totalling 156,888 sqm and is located on a 421,703 sqm site. Constructed in stages between 1995 and 2006, the site is comprised of nine warehouses, of which 18,000 sqm is cold storage, and an office building.
The site also contains a railway line with four tracks, each approximately 1 km long, with direct loading platforms and a freight terminal connected to the national railway service.
“Logistics is a sector we think has strong and enduring characteristics and we are seeing opportunities in most of the countries in which we operate,” said Cromwell’s Head of Investment, Europe, Robert Cotterell.
“COVID-19 has impacted consumer behaviour and we believe it has pulled future e-commerce and online growth forward, giving impetus to the broader sector.”
“Our on-the-ground country teams ably supported by our multi-jurisdictional platform experts can source and structure opportunities to meet the bespoke requirements of any investor,” he concluded.
Lorenzo Caroleo, Cromwell’s Head of Italy, added, “The general uncertainty we are experiencing favours those investors which are agile and have a flexible capital structure. CEREIT has a track record in Italy and is familiar with the environment and was able to move swiftly and make a compelling offer to the seller.”
“The park is well let to strong tenants while the location offers growth prospects thanks to the great accessibility and the presence of many manufacturing companies in that area of Central Italy.”
“Just a couple of months after the successful acquisition of the DHL portfolio, this transaction confirms the ability of our local team to identify the right investments for our capital partners. We will continue to deploy capital as the opportunities arise,” Mr Caroleo concluded.
The park is in the municipality of Ascoli Piceno, in Monteprandone in central Italy, along the eastern coast. It is in close proximity to the A14/E55 motorway which connects Bologna to Bari and, more broadly, is the main highway connecting Greece to Denmark. The asset is over 99% leased to a diverse tenant-customer base consisting of 24 different occupiers and is the largest logistics hub in one of Italy’s key trade corridors.
Orlando Sciocchetti, asset manager of the park, and part of the owning family, commented, “CLOM’s roots go deep into our family’s entrepreneurial history, specifically of my grandfather Orlando Marconi, of whom the park bears the name. We are very glad to have encountered such a top flight and very experienced counterpart such as Cromwell, who we are confident will ensure continuity and at the same time will be able to further develop the park to prepare it for future challenges in the national logistics environment.”
CEO of the Manager of CEREIT, Simon Garing, added, “The deal was secured off-market, once again bearing testament to the sourcing capabilities of our sponsor’s extensive on-the-ground European team.”
“The logistics park is expected to generate stable and recurring cash flows with scope for further rental upside and will increase CEREIT’s exposure to the resilient logistics sector, which is consistent with our stated purpose of delivering long-term distribution and net asset value per unit growth to unitholders.”
Cushman & Wakefield advised Cromwell Property Group on the acquisition. DLA Piper acted as legal advisor, while REAAS acted as technical advisor.
The Marconi family was advised by Ethica Corporate Finance as financial advisor, and by Orrick as legal counsel.