New Europe Property Investments plans to invest in Serbia

Posted On Thursday, 06 November 2014 16:11 Published by
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JSE-listed New Europe Property Investments has plans to expand its investments further into Serbia.

Martin Slabbert Nepi

Serbia's retail offering was underdeveloped and offered strong investment opportunities as Nepi looks to diversify its portfolio in Eastern Europe‚ CEO Martin Slabbert said. He was looking at various possible transactions in Serbia but Romania would remain the core of the property group's operations.

"We like Serbia it has 7-million people and lots of potential for development‚" Mr Slabbert said. "We recently acquired our first mall in Serbia‚ Kragujevac Plaza‚ for €38.6m." Nepi on announced that it had purchased a mall for nearly R2bn in the south of Bucharest‚ Romania.

The Promenada mall was acquired for €148m‚ making it Nepi's most valuable asset. The company has established itself in the Eastern European country over the past few years. Nepi is part of the Resilient Property Income Fund's stable of JSE-listed property companies. It is Resilient's European offshore rand hedge for investors‚ because it pays out distributions in euros. Nepi also owns malls in Slovakia but faces more competition there‚ particularly from Western European property companies.

The Promenada Mall is close to the Floreasca Business Park and the Lakeview office buildings‚ both of which Nepi owns‚ in Bucharest's emerging business district. Mr Slabbert said the area had seen significant development in recent years‚ including new A-grade office buildings and infrastructure. The mall was expected to benefit further from a substantial office development pipeline. "The property has excellent visibility and public transport connections: metro‚ bus and tram lines‚ and is linked to the city centre by two major boulevards‚" Mr Slabbert said.

Its tenants included several international fashion brands such as Adidas‚ Bershka‚ C&A‚ Deichmann‚ H&M‚ Hervis‚ Intersport‚ Lacoste‚ Tommy Hilfiger and Zara. Other tenants included a Billa supermarket‚ a World Class gym and several international fast food brands. Nepi was still "an excellent investment‚ full of growth possibilities"‚ Grindrod Asset Management chief investment officer Ian Anderson said. "There is still significant potential in the markets that Nepi operates in.

"They established themselves as the go-to guys in Eastern Europe for retailers. Major retailers from Germany and the UK who have plans to operate in Eastern Europe now want to be in Nepi's malls when they do so."

Last modified on Friday, 07 November 2014 11:46

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