The Carlyle Group announced that Valeria Falcone has been appointed Country Head Real Estate for Italy, with the task of identifying investment opportunities and to proactively manage their repositioning.
How do foreign investors feel about the Italian market? Is it still attractive or is it paying for the legislative uncertainty related to the possible taxation that could penalise the sector?
The Italian market continues to be attractive for The Carlyle Group as well as for other foreign investors. This is because Italy is a stable market, particularly interesting for those companies which want to differentiate themselves from others in Europe. Clearly the uncertainty regarding regulations is so strong that as foreign players in our country The Carlyle Group is doing its best to convince others that the situation must be overcome as quickly as possible, otherwise it will penalise the Italian market. This legislative uncertainty must be resolved or Italy may lose its competitive advantage with respect to other countries, which may have already adopted efficient measures to react to the crisis. In other words, foreign investors are optimistic and still trust our market, but we have to demonstrate that the country can be competitive if we want to keep foreign investors from abandoning it.
What are the next steps for the Carlyle Group in Italy? Are there any investments in the “pipeline” and, if so, in what sector?
The Carlyle Group has been present in Italy since 2003, where it has always dedicated a consistent part of its own investments via the Carlyle Europe Real Estate Partners III (CEREP III). We are optimistic about 2011 and the Group has already confirmed its activities for the next 12-18 months. We are evaluating different investment opportunities and will concentrate mainly on retail and residential areas of the market.
What about your outlook on the Italian market in 2011? Where will we see the most interesting returns on investments?
I think 2011 will be still a transition year. It will be another difficult year for the real estate sector, even if greater transition volumes are registered. The most interesting returns will be those tied to the retail market and the luxury residential market. On the contrary, the industrial and directional sectors will continue to pay the price for the international economic crisis.