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Rewe to build another Billa in Brasov, in September
Billa will open a store in mid September in Brasov, this being the unit number 56 that the German retailer will own in Romania. Billa invested in April over EUR 3mln in rearranging a store in Bucharest and another in Timisoara, the most important changes being made in the fresh food area, expanded by over 70%. Billa is present in the Romanian market since February 1999, when it opened a supermarket in Bucharest. Billa Romania is member of Rewe International AG group and operates a network of 55 stores. Rewe International AG is market leader in Austria on the food and drugstore market and one of the largest employers in the country. The group also owns in Romania the networks Penny Market, Penny Market XXL and Selgros. The German press noted at the beginning of the last month that Rewe Group could give up the Penny divisions in Romania and Bulgaria and the investment company Enterprise Investors, present in Romania through the Profi store network, could be interested in the takeover. (August 22nd 2011)

China Town has invested EUR 27mln in Afumati
The company China Town Romania, controlled by Chinese investors, has inaugurated in Afumati, near Bucharest, a commercial complex with 1,240 stores, following an investment of EUR 27mln. The unit also includes 200 permanent warehouses and 200 temporary warehouses. China Town’s CEO and Chairman of the Bilateral Chamber of Commerce China – Romania, Alexandru Ioan, declared that 95% of the commercial units are sold and the rest are meant for rental. (July 20th 2011)

The H&M Network in Romania Will Be Extended until November
The Swedish clothing retailer H & M opens in Romania four more stores until November, in Cluj-Napoca, Timisoara, Constanta and Bucharest, which will be added to the network of six units opened so far on the local market, and it will employ about 100 people. H & M has launched since March five stores so far, in Bucharest and one in Brasov. According to the retailer, these stores will be opened in September in Timisoara and Cluj, in shopping centers Iulius Mall in those cities. Next, in Novembe,r will be the units in Bucharest, in Sun Plaza Shopping Center, and Constanta, in the Maritimo Shopping Center. (July 19th 2011)

The German Group Rewe Could Give Up the Penny Divisions in Romania and Bulgaria
The German retailer Rewe Group could give up the Penny divisions in Romania and Bulgaria, and the investment company Enterprise Investors, present in Romania through Profi network of stores, might be interested in the takeover, according to the German newspaper Lebensmittel Zeitung, quoted by Mediafax. Rewe analyzes the international operations of Penny discount division, Lebensmittel Zeitung wrote, quoted by the portal Planet Retail. The German newspaper suggests that Penny’s operations in both countries have failed, so far, the internal targets set. In addition, the outlook is also pessimistic due to the entry on the two markets of Lidl discount network and Schwarz Group, which bought Plus stores from Tengelmann retailer. According to the German newspaper, Lidl has good results, allowing rapid expansion and aggressive pricing policy, while Penny has to temper its strategy because of the week development in Germany, its home market. The company Enterprise Investors has expressed its interest in Penny, according to Lebensmittel Zeitung. Enterprise Investors, a company registered in Poland, controls Profi stores in Romania through the investment fund Polish Enterprise Fund VI (PEF VI). Profi announced, in late June, that the network of stores in Romania has reached 94 units. Rewe Romania operates a network of 118 Penny Market / Penny Market XXL discount stores. The German group is present in Romania through Penny Market, Penny Market XXL, Billa and Selgros chain of stores. Part of the group Lidl & Schwartz, Lidl operates in Romania the network of discount stores Plus and Kaufland hypermarkets. Lidl took over in 2010, from Tengelmann group, the networks of discount stores Plus in Romania and Bulgaria, consisting of 96 shops and 23 units. (July 11th 2011)

Patriciu has Completed an Office Building in Piata Romana, but 75% is Empty
Businessman Dinu Patriciu, who in 2008 became a major owner on the domestic office market by acquiring Fabian investment fund, has completed a new office building in Bucharest, namely in Piata Romana, for which however he only found one tenant, so 75% of the building is empty. The building has a lettable area of 2,500 square meters, involving an investment of nine million euros and was built on one of the most expensive land in Bucharest, which was sold during the real estate boom at price of EUR 7,500 / square meter. "Romana Offices is completed and the total investment’s value stands at around nine million euros. The first tenant, Contrast Management Consulting & Training, will occupy its space since July 15th. At present, we are in advanced negotiations with other companies to rent two storeys and a half", David Hayward, head of Dinu Patriciu Global Services (DPGS) told Ziarul Financiar newspaper in the office in Bucharest of the company through which Dinu Patriciu manages its real estate business. Contrast will occupy 550 sqm of the lettable area of about 2,500 sqm of the building with five floors above ground, developed with funding obtained from Bank of Cyprus. Patriciu owns office buildings in Bucharest with a lettable area of over 70,000 sqm, including Cubic Center (Pipera-Tunari), Lakeview (Barbu Vacarescu), Baneasa Business Center, Banu Antonache Office (Floreasca), Cascade Office (Buzesti) and Evo Business Center (Pipera - Iancu Nicolae), thus being one of the top five owners on this market. (July 6th 2011)

Sonae Sierra begins the first phase of Adora Mall construction
Craiova Sonae Sierra will begin this month the first phase of construction works for Adora Mall, a commercial center located in the city of Craiova. Ingo Nissen, general manager of Sonae Sierra responsible for Development in Romania declared: “The beginning of construction works for Adora Mall confirms the commitment of Sonae Sierra on the Romanian market and, implicitly, on the Craiova market. The first phase of construction works will expand over six months and at the end of this period we are confident that we will be able to announce the inauguration date of the commercial center”. Adora Mall represents a total investment of EUR 111mln and will have a total lettable area of 59,000sqm, 190 stores and 1,000 parking places, according to a communiqué submitted to the editorial team. Located in the south-east Craiova, on Caracal Street, and connected to Romanescu park, Adora Mall will create over 900 jobs. Currently, 40% of the total lettable area of the commercial center Adora Mall is rented to brands like Altex, Cora, Cinema City, Orsay, Inmedio, Arsis, Total Wash, Sport’s Pub, Maxbet Best of Bowling and Pure Fitness. Also, an additional percent of 20% of the total lettable area is in advanced negotiations. (June 8th 2011)

Ana Group will build in association with GTC the Ana Tower building
The company Globe Trade Center (GTC), one of the main real estate developers on the local market, announced the association with Ana Grouop, company owned by businessman George Copos, to develop an office tower in Bucharest. The building will have a surface of approximately 30,000sqm, with 24 floors, its completion being set for the beginning of 2013. The building, called Ana Tower, will be located near the City Gate complex, developed by GTC, the project being a 50%-50% partnership between GTC Romania and Ana Group, and GTC will lead the joint-venture, a communiqué by GTC shows. The building is the fifth office space developed by GTC in Bucharest, after Europe House, America House, City Gate South and City Gate North. George Copos, the owner of Ana Group, declared in April that construction works for the office building near the Crowne Plaza hotel would begin in three to six months, mentioning that the investment amounted to approximately EUR 70mln. The businessman owns a land plot of 3,500sqm near Crowne Plaza hotel, also controlled by Ana Group, on which was announced since 2008 the development of an office tower. Because of the financial crisis, its construction was postponed. GTC SA is one of the leading real estate developers in Eastern Europe, with operations on office buildings, commercial centers and residential assemblies segments in Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Russia and Ukraine. The company developed so far about 900,000sqm of spaces with various functions, being the owner of buildings totaling 544,000sqm. (June 6th 2011)

AFI Palace Cotroceni: Lower Revenues from Rentals in the First Quarter
AFI Europe has collected in the first three months EUR 5.7 million from the rental of AFI Palace Cotroceni shopping center, down with over 8% compared to the revenues achieved in the same period last year, which amounted to about EUR 6.2 million. The revenues achieved from rentals in Romania account for half of the total amount collected in the European countries where the company has real estate projects, according to the Israeli developer's quarterly report, quoted by Mediafax. Also, the total revenues in Romania, namely rent plus income from services, totaled EUR 7.7 million, down by 6% from EUR 8.2 million in same period of 2010. The shopping center in Bucharest, with a rentable area of 76,000 square meters, was opened in late 2009 after an investment of over EUR 300 million. In, total, AFI Europe collected revenues from rentals in the countries where it owns real estate - Czech Republic, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria - of EUR 11.8 million, compared to EUR 12.11 million in the previous year. Total revenues were of EUR 21.5 million, down from EUR 28.75 million in the first quarter of 2010. The portfolio of AFI Europe has been evaluated at the end of last year to around EUR 1.2 billion, of which nearly half, namely EUR 537 million, is represented by the value of the assets held in Romania. The assets in Romania were evaluated at the end of the year 2009 to EUR 538.4 million. AFI Palace Cotroceni shopping center, the only project completed by the Israeli developer in Romania, is valued at EUR 350 million, and the difference, of EUR 187 million, is represented by land which the company owns in Bucharest, Ploiesti and Arad. (May 30th, 2011)

Chances for City Mall to be bought in the following auctions are minimal
The odds of City Mall to find a buyer anytime soon are minimal and trading this property is not in the liquidator’s ability to carry out the tender process, but in the overall economic context, believes Radu Boitan, president of RICS Romania (The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors), a professional organization that reunites over 90 top managers in the local real estate market. RICS President says that similar projects with equal or better yields are currently found all over Europe and Romanian real estate products do not excel in quality at all. “Why would I buy a mall in Bucahrest, when properties with similar or better yields are found, for example, in London”, Radu Boitan wonders. If the “product” called City Mall was included in a package with other commercial properties, maybe it would have found more easily a buyer. The commercial center City Mall in Bucharest, in bankruptcy, failed to be sold at the third auction procedure. The third auction was organized by Transilvania Insolvency House, at a starting price of EUR 26.2mln. (May 19th 2011)

The Largest Deal in the Office Segment: UniCredit Purchases 10,000 sqm from Liviu Tudor
UniCredit Business Partner Romania branch has leased an area of 10,000 sqm of office space in the building G of the Novo Park complex, developed by the businessman Liviu Tudor in the northern part of Bucharest, which is the largest transaction this year on the office market. UniCredit Business Partner has rented 10,000 square meters of office space in Building G of Novo Park complex, located in Pipera, market sources told Wall-Street.ro. The two companies confirmed the rental transaction. "Starting November this year, our central offices will be located in Novo Park", Gabriella Golfre Andreasi, the general manager of UniCredit Business Partner in Romania, declared. The transaction signed by Liviu Tudor is the largest recorded in 2011. The recently rented building represents an investment of EUR 15 million, according to the developer. Novo Park consists of seven office buildings, built on an area of over 70,000 sqm. Kraft, Procter & Gamble, Hewlett-Packard, Raiffeisen, Infineon, Garanti Group, Yokagawa ITC Networks/Luxoft, Eurest, Ringier and Veolia Water are among the tenants of the office project. Liviu Tudor owns, through the company Genesis Development, an area of 130,000 sqm of offices and has investments of EUR 35 million in progress. (May 18th 2011)

Businessman Patriciu to launch Macro store chain
Businessman Dinu Patriciu will launch next week the Macro store chain, after re-branding the miniMax Discount chain, which he bought in August 2010, announced the businessman. Patriciu declared in October 2010 that miniMax Discount would have a new brand and it would be repositioned, becoming a network of traditional stores. (May 13th 2011)

Immoeast wants to buy the land plots of the former companies Lemexim and Lubrifin
After acquiring the real estate project that EFG planned to build on the land of the former company IUS Brasov, the Austrians found themselves that near to their project was to be made a similar development by a company part of Tiriac Holding group. To eliminate competition, the investment fund wants to acquire the entire land plot appropriate for a real estate development. According to market sources, Austria’s Immoeast tries to buy the land plots of the former Brasov-based companies Lubrifin and Lemexim. The Austrians already own a land plot of four hectares, which belonged to the company IUS SA, located between the two areas that they want to acquire. The purchase desire came after the company Masterange Imobiliare, part of the holding owned by businessman Ion Tiriac, announced that it had planned to build on the land of the former company Lemexim a mall and a series of housing blocks. The problem is that the Austrians announced, when they bought the company IUS SA (with the acquisition of the developer EFG Urban Achizitii) that they planned a similar development of the land they owned, to these following to add office spaces. As for the land of Lubrifin, current owners – Pegasus Imobiliare SRL – recognized that they were contacted by the Austrian investment fund. “We’ve sent the necessary documentation, but we received no bid”, said Iosif Kovacs, administrator of the company. Moreover, Kovacs said that the interest of the company was to sell that land plot after they had invested almost EUR 600,000 in its greening. According to the documentation for the Integrated Plan for Urban Development made by Brasov Metropolitan Agency, “following excavations made it was discovered that the soil was deeply polluted with oil products”. The company Lubrifin was acquired by France’s Total in 2005. In 2004 the Brasov company had invested EUR 16mln in building a plant of auto and industrial oils in Cristian, the money coming from profits and a bank loan. (May 10th 2011)

Colosseum Project Receives Another Loan from Bank of Cyprus
Bank of Cyprus has granted a loan guaranteed up to a maximum amount of EUR 22.8 million to the company Nova Imobiliare, the developer of the commercial complex Colosseum in Chitila, plus another loan of about EUR 26 million approved in February. Colosseum, an investment of about EUR 350 million, will have a total area of 190,000 square meters and will include a mall, a retail park with 480 stores and over 10,000 free parking spaces. Bank of Cyprus has also signed with the developer in February a loan agreement guaranteed up to a maximum amount if EUR 26 million. Both loans, totaling almost EUR 50 million, will be used to finance the first phase of the two phases in which the shopping center will be delivered. The first phase involves the construction of a retail park of 53,000 square meters, which will include a Carrefour hypermarket and the first hardware store Leroy Merlin in Romania. Works on the retail park are underway, and the opening is scheduled for September 2011. Nova Imobiliare is a company founded by British businessmen. (May 6th 2011)

The developer Redevco gives up the construction of the 10 malls. We’ve lost half a billion euros
The crisis has chased away from Romania one of the largest investors in retail: the Dutch company Redevco, part of Cofra group, which owns the C&A stores chain. Focused on developing commercial centers – initially only for C&A -, Redevco is one of the largest European real estate developers, with a portfolio of over 750 properties (including commercial, logistic and office spaces) in 18 countries, assessed at EUR 7.4bn at this point. Entered on Romanian market in 2006, Redevco planned investments of at least EUR 500mln. One of the projects aimed at the construction of a commercial center in Brasov, integrated into the municipal stadium, which would be brought to UEFA standards, and the construction of a modern sports complex. After one year since its entrance in Romania, Redevco announced the establishment of a joint venture with EMCT Romania, the developer of Sun Plaza in the Capital. The company, Rom Retail Development, planned the development of 10 large commercial centers in the country. The only one that seemed to materialize was however Tulcea Shopping Center, the first mall of the city, which would have required investments of EUR 80mln. But in 2009 the association of the two companies was to break down suddenly, because of divergence between the two partners regarding the market evolution. After breaking the joint venture, the project of the mall in Tulcea remained in the portfolio of Redevco, but in 2010 the Dutch company decided to abandon entirely the Romanian market. (May 4th 2011)

Investments in real estate reached EUR 200mln
The value of commercial property transactions in Romania, offices, commercial spaces and industrial spaces totaled in the first quarter approximately EUR 200mln, double against the same period of 2010, according to a communiqué by DTZ Echinox. Also, from quarter to quarter (Q1 2011 against Q4 2010) the growth was large, of 86%, due to the takeover of the real estate properties portfolio of Europolis by CA Immo. This transaction concluded at international level represents 90% of the total investment volume registered in Q1 2011”, DTZ Echinox’ report reads. CA Immo group, the second largest real estate developer in Austria, acquired last year the company Europolis, the real estate division of the Austrian bank Volksbank, against EUR 272mln. The transaction was completed this year, Europolis’ portfolio in Romania including the building offices Europe House and Riverplace, a land plot for developing an office building, all in Bucharest, as well as a logistic park in Arad. Transactions in Romania represent approximately 10% of the total real estate investments in Europe, of EUR 20.5bn, in the first quarter. Against the similar period last year it’s noticed a growth of 6% of transactions in Europe. DTZ estimates that retail will remain the leading sector of investment transactions until the end of 2011 in Romania, followed by the office spaces segment. (May 3rd 2011)