Meyer Bergman, the private equity real estate investment manager, has taken its first step into the rapidly growing ‘last-mile’ logistics sector by acquiring a portfolio of nine properties in northern Italy from private developer Logiman on behalf of its latest fund. The terms of the transaction are not being disclosed.
Meyer Bergman European Retail Partners III has acquired three developed warehouses and six build-to-suit warehouses currently under construction to be completed in 2019. The properties comprise a total of 45,000 sq.m. of space and are located in the Greater Milan region, Piacenza, Brescia, Cremona, Verona and Treviso, near Venice. Existing tenants and future occupiers of the fully-let portfolio include DHL, FedEx and TNT.
Marcus Meijer, Chief Executive Officer of Meyer Bergman, said: “Last-mile logistics is a natural extension of our urban mixed-use investment strategy and provides our investors with exposure to a new type of retail-led asset class at a time of significant change in the industry. The pace of growth in European e-commerce is creating strong demand for these assets as brands adopt an omnichannel approach to remain relevant to consumers in today’s competitive markets. We have established a strong pipeline of investment opportunities in supply-constrained markets in Europe.”
Analysts predict that online retail sales in Europe will grow by 94% by 2021 – or 14% annually – from €322 billion in 2016, a 10% share of retailing. This trend is putting pressure on retailers to adapt their supply chains and for logistic operators to fulfill the final leg of distribution. This point, also known as the ‘last-mile’, is where deliveries become ’urban’ and are handled by smaller vans rather than bulk haulage.
Meyer Bergman research has identified strong demand for last-mile warehouses in urban infill locations across Europe. The company announced last month its strategic move into the sector and appointed Marco Riva to take responsibility for investments. Riva joined the firm from Logicor, where he worked for five years and invested over €2 billion in logistic properties.
Marco Riva, who is also Senior Vice President for Southern Europe at Meyer Bergman, said: “This portfolio allows us to establish a position of scale in the fragmented Italian market, where online retailing lags behind other countries in Europe. As e-commerce accelerates to grab a growing share of retail sales in Italy, we expect significant demand for modern and high-quality last-mile facilities in close proximity to the major cities, like the ones we have acquired.”