Sonae Sierra enters Morocco (PT/MA)

Sonae Sierra, the international shopping center specialist, has just entered the Moroccan market, with the provision of services in the shopping center sector, including the development and management of shopping centers.

The company's first contract in this market has just been signed, with Moroccan companies Marjane (ONA Group) and Foncière Chellah (CDG Group - Caisse de Dépôt et de Gestion), for the provision of development services for a shopping center with a total GLA of 40,700 m² and 130 shops, which is scheduled to open to the public at the end of 2013. Located between the Hassan II Mosque and the Casablanca marina, this center is a part of the Casablanca Marina project, which integrates housing, leisure and business.

The activities to be developed by Sonae Sierra include market surveys, definition of layouts, architectural concept and project management throughout the entire development stage.

Marjane is the largest hypermarket and supermarket chain operating in Morocco and Foncière Chellah is a real estate investment fund present in the real estate lease segment, fully owned by the CDG Group, one of Morocco's main financial institutions.

For Fernando Guedes de Oliveira, Sonae Sierra's CEO, "Morocco is a market with more than 31 million inhabitants, which is under rapid economic development, and has a shopping center industry with an enormous potential for growth. Our entry in this market represents a reinforcement of our internationalization strategy through the provision of services based on our knowledge and experience in every area of the shopping center business".

Morocco is considered an emerging market, with political and economic stability, which, in macroeconomic terms, had a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of 3.5% in 2010, and there are great future growth perspectives for its economy.

A sustained internationalization process
Sonae Sierra, which has operated in the Portuguese market for 21 years, begun its internationalization in 1999 in three markets: Spain, Greece and Brazil. In 2000, Germany and Italy joined the list, and 2007 marked our arrival in the Romanian market.

The entry in Colombia in 2010 reinforced the company's internationalization and its presence in South America. This was the starting point for the international growth strategy, through service provision to third parties in the shopping center development and management areas, which now expands to North Africa.

Currently, the company has 49 shopping centers in operation, 28 of which are located outside Portugal, namely in Spain (nine), Italy (four), Greece (one), Germany (three), Romania (one) and Brazil (10). The company has three developments under construction: Le Terrazze, in Italy, Uberlândia Shopping and Boulevard Londrina, both in Brazil. Seven other projects are in different stages of development in Portugal, Italy, Germany, Greece, Romania and Brazil.

Source: Sonae Sierra

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