RGI's Europa Capital Completes Acquisition of 'Mall of Sofia'

Properties | August 17, 2011, Wednesday // 21:15|  views

The Mall of Sofia, Bulgaria's first shopping mall opened in 2006, has been acquired by Europa Capital LLC for EUR 100 M. Photo by BGNES

Europa Capital LLP, a member of the Rockefeller Group, has completed the acquisition of Mall of Sofia, the first shopping mall in Bulgaria's capital, the company has announced.

"Europa Capital LLP, the fund manager of Europa Fund III and the Europa Emerging Europe Fund, is pleased to announce that it has completed the acquisition of Mall of Sofia, Sofia, Bulgaria, from GE Real Estate and Avestus Capital Partners. This is Europa's second investment in Bulgaria this year and demonstrates its ongoing commitment to the region," Europa Capital said in a statement on its website.

Mall of Sofia is a 23 600 sqm shopping center with 10 400 sqmof offices above, located in the centre of Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria.

"The property has an excellent tenant roster and there is scope to augment the existing income through active asset management," according to the mall's new owner.

The company further announced that the acquisition, which amounts to a transaction volume in excess of EUR 100 M, was financed by the existing lenders OTP Bank and DSK Bank. Mall of Sofia will continue to be managed by Avestus Capital Partners with property management provided by MOS Management.

Europa Capital was advised on the purchase of Mall of Sofia by CMS Cameron McKenna and CB Richard Ellis / MBL. GE Real Estate and Avestus Capital Partners were advised by Schoultz & Partners (Prague), Andonov & Radinska (Sofia), and Jones Lang LaSalle.

"This is an exciting opportunity to create value through a number of focused asset management initiatives on one of the region's strongest assets," Henry Morris, Acquisitions, Europa Capital, said, adding, "We will look to improve the tenant mix whilst retaining the unique market positioning of Mall of Sofia in the retail hierarchy. We are delighted to be working in cooperation with Avestus and MOS Management moving forward with this significant investment in Sofia."

Europa Capital is a real estate fund management group operating from offices across Europe. Europa Capital is a member of The Rockefeller Group ("RGI"). Europa Capital is currently investing two investment funds for European property investment, being Europa Fund III and Europa Emerging Europe, which invests in Eastern Europe.

In June, The Irish Times reported that the sale of the Mall of Sofia for EUR 100 M generates a gain of more than EUR 20 M to be shared equally by Avestus Capital Partners and Irish GE Real Estate, according to a source close to the Irish property company.

This is Europa Capital's second investment in Bulgaria this year, after it bought Retail Park Plovdiv, a 25,000 sqm retail warehouse park located in Plovdiv, the second largest city in Bulgaria approximately 150 km southeast of Sofia.

Avestus and GE Real Estate had acquired a 50 per cent stake in the shopping center rom Israeli property development firm, AVIV and Israeli cinema operator, CCI, for about EUR 37 M in August 2005.

They purchased the remaining 50 per cent when the centre was built in May 2006, taking their investment to EUR 80 M.

Mall of Sofia, Bulgaria's first ever shopping mall, opened doors in 2006.

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Tags: Europa Capital, Mall of Sofia, sofia, avestus capital partners, GE Real Estate, aviv, RGI, Rockefeller Group, shopping mall, sofia


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