|An American Partner for Rinascente for the Ownership and Development of Shopping Malls|
INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 17 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The Rinascente Group and Simon Property Group, Inc. (NYSE: SPG), announced today that they have signed a definitive agreement to form a joint venture for the ownership, management and development of shopping malls in Italy.
The agreement foresees the creation of a joint stock company to be called "Gallerie Commerciali Italia S.p.A" ("GCI"), to which the Rinascente Group will contribute its existing shopping mall assets and development opportunities, and then sell 49% of the new company to an affiliate of Simon Property Group. The initial value of GCI business is approximately euro 860 million. The value of the transferred activities will be regulated in part taking up the debts and in part in cash. Simon Property Group's initial equity investment will be approximately euro 182 million. The transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to close before year-end. The Rinascente Group and SPG are being respectively advised by Mediobanca and JP Morgan.
The portfolio consists of 38 shopping centers, comprising about 2.6 million square feet currently open and operating. Additionally, GCI has several projects under construction and in predevelopment which will add approximately 4.4 million additional square feet over the next five years.
The Rinascente Group has always considered the shopping mall formula strategic for its business. The inclusion of a dominant hypermarket in a highly attractive shopping mall is an essential element in the development and expansion policy of the company. The partnership with Simon Property Group, finalized in the creation of "Gallerie Commerciali Italia SPA" is an integral part of the divisional process of the Rinascente Group that foresees the focusing of each separate activity. The partnership is aimed at consolidating and building the Group's leadership position in Italy through the contribution of resources and know-how that the new American partner can provide.
"The selection of an important and innovative company like Simon Property Group," said Benoit Lheureux, CEO of the Food sector of the Rinascente Group, "will enable us to improve further our specific competence in the development and management of shopping malls and provide us with additional financial resources to realize a significant development plan for the coming years."
"We are pleased to be partnering with Rinascente," said David Simon, SPG chief executive officer. "This transaction significantly increases our presence in Europe and aligns us with Europe's leading retailers. We are very excited about the long-term growth prospects for GCI and look forward to working with Rinascente."
About Rinascente Group
The Rinascente Group is one of Italy's leading retail companies with 1,852 sales outlets (directly owned, affiliated or associated) around the country and more than 30,000 employees. Group sales in 2002 came to euro 6.146 billion and investments in the year totalled euro 304 million. The Rinascente Group is controlled by Eurofind, the majority interest of which is held by Ifil SpA, the investment company of the Agnelli Group, and the French company Auchan, one of the world's largest retailers, operating in 12 countries with net 2002 sales of euro 27.6 billion. The Rinascente Group is active in a range of commercial formulas and trades under a range of fascia: for department stores La Rinascente, the Upim chain, Auchan hypermarkets and Sma, Cityper and Punto Sma supermarkets. The company also has significant interest in shopping mall management (Galleria Auchan) and is a leading player in the D-I-Y market through SIB (Societa Italiana Bricolage, joint -- venture 50%/50% Rinascente Group and Leroy Merlin Group) that trade under the Bricocenter and Leroy Merlin.
About Simon Property Group
Simon Property Group, Inc. (NYSE: SPG), headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, is a real estate investment trust engaged in the ownership and management of income-producing properties, primarily regional malls and community shopping centers. Through its subsidiary partnerships, it currently owns or has an interest in 246 properties containing an aggregate of 191 million square feet of gross leasable area in 37 states. The Company also holds interests in nine assets in Europe (in France and Poland) and Canada and ownership interests in other real estate assets. The Company's activities in Europe are conducted through its ownership in European Retail Enterprises. Additional Simon Property Group information is available at www.simon.com.
SOURCE Simon Property Group, Inc.
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