Union Investment Real Estate has bought its first shopping centre in Italy, continuing its international diversification strategy.

The Hamburg-based fund manager, formerly called Difa, has added the Centro Commerciale Carrefour in Pavia to its open-ended real estate fund UniImmo: Europa, paying €74m (£55m).

215,300 sq ft

Developed by Carrefour, the centre comprises 215,300 sq ft of space and opened only last month. The 83,000 sq ft Carrefour hypermarket is not included in the purchase.

The centre is situated close to the main road that links the centre of Pavia with various motorways, including those to Milan and Genoa. Around 236,000 people live in the centre's catchment area. Pavia is located in the north of Italy and the southwest of the Lombardy region, which possesses the highest per capita income in the country.

Good position

‘Italy is one of Europe's biggest retail markets,’ said Frank Billand, the Union Investment board member responsible for the shopping centre asset management division. ‘The Carrefour transaction puts us in a good position to gradually expand our portfolio of shopping centres in southern Europe, despite strong competition among investors.’