Chayton Capital, CV Starr take over East European firm for €150m

London’s Chayton Capital and a global investment firm led by Maurice 'Hank' Greenberg, the former AIG chairman, has acquired a majority stake in a Hungarian firm. The company will be headed by current head of Central Europe at Axa Real Estate Investment Managers, John Verpeleti.

Chayton Capital and CV Starr, the investment vehicle led by former chairman of AIG, Maurice Greenberg, has taken over Hungarian property firm Skoglund Holding for €150 million.
The pair have acquired a 74 percent stake in the company from private investment firm Bankar. 

London firm Chayton, which is investing out of its Eastern Europe-focused Sava Fund, also revealed it had hired John Verpeleti from Axa Real Estate Investment Managers to be chief executive of Skoglund from January. Verpeleti is currently head of Axa REIM's Central Europe business.

Skoglund’s strategy will change from holding and re-zoning land in Hungary to developing assets with opportunities for joint venture equity partnerships. 

Neil Crowder, who heads up Chayton Capital, said in a statement:  “This is a substantial deal for Chayton Sava.”

Chayton Capital will manage the portfolio on behalf of CV Starr and the Sava Fund, and will have responsibility for the operation and strategy of Skoglund. Skoglund will retain its own staff and run as an independent company run by Verpeleti, added Crowder.

Skoglund in its current format was created by Hungary's Bankar through a merger in 1998 between Skoglund and Sasad, the former state-owned agricultural and horticultural co-operative.  Between 1998 and 2008, the company sold off parcels of land and re-zoned others from agricultural use to commerical development. 

Chayton's Sava Property Fund is the London firm's second major investment fund.  In addition to Hungary, it targets mainly Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia. Managing director Crowder is the former co-head of European research and co-chief operating officer of the global investment research division at Goldman Sachs.