Qatar Buys 40% Stake in Milan’s Porta Nuova Business District

Qatar Holding LLC, a unit of the Persian Gulf emirate’s sovereign-wealth fund, agreed to buy a 40 percent stake in Milan’s newly built Porta Nuova business district to expand its Italian real estate holdings.

Qatar Holding signed a strategic partnership with Hines Italia SGR, the project’s developer, and agreed to purchase the stake through a subscription of newly issued shares, the companies said in an e-mailed statement today. While the purchase price wasn’t disclosed, they said the project is valued at about 2 billion euros ($2.6 billion).

Qatar Holding’s investment “further diversifies its global portfolio in general, and increases its participation in the Italian real estate market in particular,” the companies said. “The landmark project is expected to have a transformative impact for Milan and create value for all stakeholders.”

Hines, a division of the closely held Houston-based developer of the same name, is building office towers, shops and buildings at the new business park designed by architects including Cesar Pelli and Patricia Viel. The project encompasses more than 290,000 square meters (3.1 million square feet) in downtown Milan. UniCredit SpA, Italy’s biggest bank, signed a lease last year to move its headquarters into three Porta Nuova skyscrapers in 2013.

Porta Nuova is financed by banks including Intesa Sanpaolo SpA, Unicredit and Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA. The remaining 60 percent stake in the project will continue to be owned by the current sponsors, Qatar and Hines said in the statement, without disclosing more specific ownership information.

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