Starting with a substantial investment in the Czech and Hungarian markets, DIFA Deutsche Immobilien Fonds AG is expanding into Central and Eastern Europe. The Hamburg-based open-ended real estate fund manager has acquired a significant stake in an existing portfolio built up by Europolis, the real estate arm of the Investkredit Group, Vienna.
An ongoing relationship with Europolis will also facilitate further property acquisitions in CEE countries.
As announced on Wednesday in Vienna by DIFA board member Dr. Frank Billand, Klaus Gugglberger of the Board of Management of Investkredit Bank AG and Noreen
Doyle, First Vice President at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), DIFA has acquired a 49% stake in a total of seven property companies operated by Investkredit Bank AG and the EBRD. DIFA has also taken over 100% of Hadovka, another property company, bringing their total investment in the Czech Republic and Hungary to 180 million euros. The weighted initial yield after finance costs is 13%. The investment package comprises four office buildings in Prague and Budapest, two shopping centres in Teplice and MladÃ¡ Boleslav, as well as two logistics sites on the outskirts of Budapest with total floor space of some 230,000 sq m. These new portfolio holdings also mark DIFAâs international debut in the logistics segment. Shares in seven of the associated companies will become part of the open-ended real estate fund DIFA-GRUND, while Hadovka in Prague will be assigned to DIFAGlobal.
DIFA is committed to building a carefully selected property portfolio which is well-diversified in terms of regions and sectors and where the quality of locations, tenants and properties is all equally high. Across all types of use, the distinguishing features of these properties are their elegant architecture, efficient layouts and good links to airports or public transport. The Prague portfolio (totalling three properties) includes the striking, multi-award winning Danube House in the up-and-coming River City area, the Hadovka office park situated between the city centre and airport, which received a national award in 2000 for best office building, plus the Technopark in Pragueâs 5th district, completed in 2003. The two office parks are fully let on long-term leases, as are
the Olympia shopping centres in MladÃ¡ Boleslav and Teplice. This acquisition of two shopping centres in the Czech Republic reflects DIFAâs strategy of ensuring significant exposure to the retail segment in both its domestic and foreign investments.
The Budapest portfolio (also totalling three properties) consists of the Infopark Research Center, the logistics-focused Airport Business Park, which features approximately 65,000 sq m of modern offices and logistics space meeting Western European standards and is situated near the Hungarian capitalâs international airport, as well as a second logistics investment in the form of the M1 Business Park in PÃ¡ty to the west of Budapest. Completed in 2003, the latter property enjoys excellent transport links with Budapest and (via the M1 motorway) Vienna, while providing international-standard construction quality and facilities.
Domestic demand for high-quality office space on the increase
âBudapest and Prague both offer very positive economic conditions combined with above-average growth potential. Our holdings mean that we are ideally placed to benefit from rising domestic demand for high-quality office space in the most exciting Central European markets over the next few years,â said Dr. Frank Billand, the DIFA board member responsible for CEE markets. âWith prices for high-quality commercial properties trending upwards to Western European levels, our portfolio can be expected to deliver attractive value growth.â Europolis Real Estate Asset Management GmbH, headquartered in Vienna, will continue to manage the eight properties.
This transaction and the agreeing of an ongoing partnership with Europolis, the real estate investment specialist within the Inve