Atrium completes €55-million acquisition of Molo shopping center (PL)

Atrium European Real Estate Limited, one of the leading real estate companies focused on shopping center investment, management and development in Central and Eastern Europe, has announced the €55-million acquisition of the Molo shopping center in Szczecin, Poland's seventh largest city, from PFCE Soparfi A, a real estate fund managed by CBRE Global Investors.

The acquisition is in line with the company's aim of acquiring prime income producing shopping centers in the major cities of its key target markets of Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia, which have the strongest economies in the CEE region, and further increasing Atrium's exposure to A- rated or above countries.

The transaction has been financed through a mixture of equity and debt and follows Atrium's €191 million purchase of the Palác Flóra shopping center in Prague, Czech Republic, in September, as well as the recent upgrading of the company's credit rating to BB+ by Standard & Poor's.

Situated in a prime location, Molo is one of the leading shopping centers in Szczecin, Poland's seventh largest city, which has a population of over 400,000 and is one of the country's largest seaports. The center is 100% let and, following a ca. €10-million refurbishment and extension which was completed in November 2010, now offers 28,161 m² of gross lettable area of which 26,235 m² is retail.

Molo is anchored by Carrefour and Media Markt, along with a number of Polish and international brands including H&M, TK Maxx, Cubus, Reserved, Deichmann, Douglas, New Yorker, Cropp Town and Home & You, among others.

Molo also offers 504 m² of offices housed within the main building, which are 100% let, 218 m² of storage for the center's retailers and a 1,200-m² Carrefour petrol station. It also benefits from over 860 on-site parking places and, as one of the first shopping centers built in Szczecin (in 2000), has a well-established loyal customer base.

Molo is located just 13 km from the main Polish-German border crossing on the A6 motorway and is located in a highly visible position on one of the main roads of Szczecin city, where it provides good access for customers arriving by car. In addition, it has excellent transport connections including three bus links and three tram lines.

Commenting on the acquisition, Rachel Lavine, CEO of Atrium said: "The acquisition of Molo provides clear evidence of the positive momentum we are achieving in putting our strong balance sheet to work and growing our business through the purchase of prime assets in tier one cities in our target markets.

"While Molo has recently been upgraded through an extensive refurbishment, we now look forward to bringing it into Atrium's portfolio where it will benefit from our asset management expertise and the operational efficiencies and economies of scale that we are able to apply to it.

"We are also honored that our hard work in Poland has been recognized at the Eurobuild Awards 2011, where we were named as winners in the categories of 'Best Shopping Center in Poland', for our Targowek center, and 'Best Shopping Center Management Company 2011'.

"These awards are particularly pleasing for us as they are voted for by our tenants, and we take great pride in the strong relationships we have built up with tenants across our portfolio through our active asset management work."

Source: FTI Consulting

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