• Fonciere des Murs makes first move with Italian hotel REIT

Beni Stabili Hotel, a subsidiary of French hospitality REIT Fonciere des Murs, has paid EU128m to buy six hotels in Italy, its first move into the country and the first move away from Accor as its preferred hotel operating partner.

The hotels, operated by the Metha group under the Holiday Inn brand, further extends FdM’s reach beyond France (it already has holdings in Belgium and Portugal), making it both the largest and most international of Europe’s listed hotel owners.

The six hotels in Italy are located in Rome, two in Milan, two in Florence and one in Turin. Metha operates a total of 21 hotels, under brands including Marriott and Ramada.

The acquisition of the hotels is over an 18-month period and will be realised via an Italian real estate investment fund. A subsidiary of Beni Stabili, which is 80% owned by FdM, will manage the fund.

The portfolio is expected to generate a total annual rent of Eu8m under nine-year leases, renewable once for another nine-year term. Net yield is 6.25%. Debt is Eu87m from an Italian bank.

The relationship with Beni Stabili was first struck back in July when Fonciere des Regions, which owns 23.6% of FdM, bought 68% of Beni Stabili. A tidying up exercise is currently underway at Beni Stabili that is seeing it absorb a number of subsidiaries in order for it to qualify for SIIQ (the Italian REIT) status. Fonciere des Regions will also reduce its stake in the business to 51%.

Since the start of this year, FdM has bought more than Eu950m worth of hospitality assets. These include a Club Med property in Portugal, the Jardiland chain of garden centres, a chain of health clinics, the Quick burger chain and four holiday parks operated by Pierre & Vacances.

As at the half-year mark, prior to the latest deal, hotels represented 59% of FdM’s portfolio by value with Accor as its sole operator partner. Net debt was Eu1.291bn representing gearing of 54%.

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