Czech CPI buys huge Central European retail portfolio

By bne IntelliNews January 17, 2017

Czech real estate investor CPI Group has bought a large portfolio of Central European retail assets, local media reported on January 17.

The investor, which has grown its holdings rapidly since the crisis, is one of a new breed of local players making their mark on the Visegrad market since the crisis. Many foreign investors that dominated ahead of 2008 have been forced to retreat.

The local funds were swift to snap up assets from those struggling foreign groups at bargain prices, offering huge profit as yields have compressed back to previous levels. With yields falling back to 5-6% on trophy assets in Prague and Warsaw, the likes of CPI have continued to expand.

The latest deal sees the investor – controlled by Czech billionaire Radovan Vitek - buy 11 large shopping centers in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Romania. The acquisition is the largest ever by CPI.

The sellers were real estate funds managed by CBRE Global Investors, writes CTK. The price of the deal has not been officially announced. However, the local edition of Forbes reports it at €650mn.

CPI has recently sold off regional office assets in a bid to concentrate on larger cities. However, it has been quiet in recent months as it has balked at the rise of prices on Central European markets.

The investor says that the deal was opportunist. "This transaction, which may be in our region for this year the biggest ever, marks another milestone for CPI Property Group and shows that we can do exceptional business and in today's very competitive market," said CEO Martin Nemecek.

The deal, which hands CPI 265,000 square metres of shopping centre and office space and projects in major cities around the four countries, needs to be approved by the Czech and Hungarian competition offices.


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