Cerberus awards NAI Global Austria and CBRE mandate to sell $708 mln. Bawag Bank portfolio (AU)

NAI Global has announced that its Austrian affiliate, NAI Otto Immobilien, and CB Richard Ellis have been awarded an exclusive mandate to sell a $700 mln. portfolio of commercial properties owned by BAWAG-PSK Real Estate, a subsidiary of BAWAG-PSK Bank. The former union bank was taken over by Cerberus Capital Management L.P., one of the world's leading private investment firms, in May.

The buildings are in desirable prime locations in Vienna's city center as well as in the federal provinces of Austria and comprise approximately 1.5 mln. ft² (135,000 m²) of usable floor space. The sale is expected to generate more than $700 mln. (€500 mln.) and will be finalized by the end of the year. A second package is intended for sale in 2008.

"News that BAWAG is selling a large high-value real estate package has caused considerable commotion on the Austrian real estate market," stated Eugen Otto, head of NAI Otto. He called the exclusive mandate "a huge success" and stressed that the entire investment team is working hard on its conclusion.

Outbidding other interested parties such as the Bayrische Landesbank and private equity fund Lone Star, Cerberus bought the struggling former workers' bank (Arbeiterbank) – founded in 1922 – for €3.2 bln. at the end of 2006. Following the Refco scandal and heavy losses through currency speculation in the Caribbean, the bank was facing economic bankruptcy at the time. The share transfer in mid-May 2007 made Cerberus the official owner of BAWAG, giving it almost 90 percent of Austria's fifth-largest bank through holdings. Further shares are held by the Austrian Post, the Bausparkasse Wüstenrot, the Generali Vienna Holding insurance as well as an Austrian group of industrialists.

As part of the reorientation initiated by Cerberus, BAWAG is also parting ways with the piano manufacturer Bösendorfer and selling its stake in the private television station ATV and the Austrian Lotteries.

Source: NAI Global

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