Bear Stearns arranges belgian office park acquisition (BE)

Bear, Stearns International Limited is pleased to announce that it has arranged the acquisition of an office park located in Ghent, Belgium in a deal underwritten by Bear Stearns Bank plc. The equity of the €163 million transaction was placed with Bear Stearns' client, Icelandic insurance group Sjóvá-Almennar tryggingar hf ("Sjóvá").

Southgate Office Complex, Ghent.

This deal, involving the 70,000 m² "Southgate Office Complex", was originated and executed by Bear Stearns' Real Estate Principal Investments Group ("REPI"). "This deal demonstrates the continued success of our business model and product, which provides our clients with the full complement of our services such as originating, arranging, financing and executing transactions", said Philippe Vienot, co-head of the REPI Group at Bear Stearns with Ralf Nöcker. Mr Nöcker added, "This transaction demonstrates REPI's ability to find attractive assets in different parts of Europe and to execute large and complex transactions".

This is the second property deal in continental Europe for Sjóvá, whose real estate investments are selected, structured and managed by Aquila Venture Partners ("AVP"), in which Sjóvá is also shareholder. The first transaction was a 30,000 m² / €85 million office park located in Munich, which was also originated, structured and debt funded by Bear Stearns. The Southgate Office Complex is let primarily to the Belgian State, with 77% of the rent coming from public or semi-public tenants. The property was acquired from Mercator Insurance, a Belgian subsidiary of Real Estate Principal Investments.
Baloise, the Swiss insurance group. Completion and funding of the acquisition is scheduled for September 2006, at which point Bear Stearns will provide €152.8m of debt finance including senior debt and mezzanine finance. "We are very excited to complete our second transaction so shortly after our first acquisition. This Belgian office complex is the perfect addition to our real estate vehicle," said Fridjon Runar Sigurdsson, Director of Sjova. Brandur Thor Ludwig, COO of AVP, added, "Yet again we are pleased at how efficiently and swiftly the Bear Stearns REPI team has arranged and completed the acquisition, and look forward to continuing our successful cooperation."

Source: Bear Stearns

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