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Saudi sovereign fund buys 2.2B-riyal Riyadh plot; Testa stake to trade for €379M

S&P Global Market Intelligence offers our top picks of European real estate news stories and more published throughout the week.

Plush prices

* Public Investment Fund, the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia, paid 2.17 billion riyals for a 434,400-square-meter undeveloped plot of land in northern Riyadh in what was possibly the country's largest real estate deal yet, Reuters reported. Property company Etqan conducted a real estate auction to sell the plot and other assets on behalf of late businessman Saleh Abdulaziz al-Rajhi, the newswire added.

* Barcelona-based office landlord Inmobiliaria Colonial Socimi SA sold seven office towers and a turnkey development, comprising a gross lettable area of 106,574 square meters in Madrid, for a total of €441 million. Deemed mature and non-strategic, the assets were divested at a 12% premium over their most recently appraised value.

* Local property developer Arada divested 652 homes, worth 545 million dirhams, at its ongoing US$6.8 billion Aljada mixed-use project in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, Arabian Business reported. The company also disclosed the final masterplan for the development's 1.9 million-square-foot Central Hub and launched the nearby Sarab Community, which is set to offer 109 townhouses and villas.

Slices for the taking

* Acciona SA's approximately 20% stake in Spain's Testa Residencial Socimi SA is poised to sell for approximately €379.0 million to Tropic Real Estate Holding SL, the same Blackstone Group LP fund-managed entity that agreed to buy a 50.01% interest in the target from Merlin Properties, Banco Santander SA and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA in September.

* A unit of Thailand's Minor International PCL proceeded with its plan to acquire the remaining 53.75% of NH Hotel Group SA's share capital that it does not already own with the launch of a public cash offer of €6.30 per share. In June, the company bought a 25% interest in the Spanish hotelier from HNA Group Co. Ltd. under a €619 million two-tranche deal.

* Hong Kong-based real estate developer Nan Fung Group Holdings Ltd. became a majority shareholder in British property developer and investor Endurance Land Ltd. Under the deal, details of which were not disclosed, Nan Fung's existing U.K. assets will be managed by Endurance Land.

Funds for use

* An investment fund targeting a total volume of approximately €1 billion, with a focus on residential and commercial real estate in Austria, has launched. Signa Holding GmbH unit Signa Financial Services AG won a tender to manage the fund.

* LRI Group and Aggregate Debt Advisory GmbH will invest in residential real estate development in Germany through its aggregate debt fund that launched with a €500 million target. The reserved alternative investment fund has a term of up to seven years, with a projected annual return of 6% to 8%. It is seeking capital from pension funds, insurance companies and family offices.

As of Oct. 11, US$1 was equivalent to 3.75 Saudi Arabian riyals and 3.67 UAE dirhams.