Henderson launches Italian fund (IT/US)

Henderson Global Investors SGR, the dedicated fund management company created by Henderson Global Investors in Italy, has announced the launch of its first fund, Fondo Azzurro, following authorization from the Bank of Italy.

Fondo Azzurro, a closed-end fund for institutional investors, will target the retail sector of the Italian property market and will invest in both existing properties as well as development opportunities. The Fund's target equity is €250 million over its 10 year life time.

The Fund will be managed by Gaetano Lepore. Based in Italy and with over 14 years of experience in the property sector, Lepore has extensive knowledge of the retail sector having previously gained experience at Deka Immobilien, Rinascente-Auchan Group and Larry Smith.

Neil Varnham, Director of Property Retail (Europe), said, "The creation of the SGR and the launch of the first fund confirm Henderson's determination to grow its business in Italy. The SGR provides a launch pad for new initiatives in the Italian property market, such as the Fondo Azzurro, where we are able to take advantage of our specialist expertise, particularly in the Italian retail sector. The launch of Fondo Azzurro allows international, as well as Italian investors the opportunity to invest in this growing market, which was otherwise less accessible."

Lepore added, "The Italian retail sector will continue to grow over the next few years, with rental growth and yield trends remaining strong in comparison to other European markets. The specialization of Fondo Azzurro and its management team will allow the fund to take advantage of the opportunities in a market which, notwithstanding an increasing maturity, still offers good value in the retail sector for our investors."

Fondo Azzurro will benefit from Henderson Global Investors' extensive experience in the Italian commercial property market. Henderson is one of the largest asset management companies active in European property, with over €11.9 billion (as at 31 December 2006) of property funds managed across Europe. Through the activity of its European Outlet Mall Fund, which develops designer outlet malls across Europe and particularly throughout Italy, Henderson has extensive experience in the Italian retail sector. It has established strong working relationships with local experts, including Italian retail developers and retailers.

Source: Henderson

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