Europa Capital buys €100m mall in Bulgaria

Europa clocks up a deal for its Europa Emerging Europe fund and Europa Capital III investing about €100 million in the Mall of Sofia.

Europa Capital, the London based firm, has bought the Mall of Sofia in Sofia, Bulgaria for around €100 million from Avestus Capital, formerly known as Quinlan Private, and joint venture partner, GE Real Estate.

The company has made the investment, it said, for its Europa Fund III and the Europa Emerging Europe Fund. It added it was Europa’s second investment in Bulgaria this year, having bought Retail Park Plovdiv from Landmark Property Management for €20 million.

The Mall of Sofia is a 23,600 square foot shopping centre that opened in the heart of the Bulgarian capital in 2006. GE Real Estate and Quinlan Private, as it was then called, acquired the asset in two stages. In 2005 they bought a 50 percent stake for around €37 million and then bought the remaining 50 percent a year later from AVIV, an Israeli property development company, and CCI, an Israel-based cinema operator, taking their total investment to around €80 million. The Irish Times reported in June how Avestus and GE expected to book a gain of €20 million on their investment.

Europa said its deal was being financed by existing lenders, OTP Bank and DSK Bank. The asset would continue to be managed by Avestus Capital Partners, according to Europa, which raised €600 million for Fund III and €150 million for its emerging markets in 2008.

Henry Morris, acquisitions professional at Europa said in a statement that the firm would look to add value through asset management.

Today also saw Europa announce that another vehicle, Europa Fund III, had entered into a joint venture with REAM Capital Partners to buy a portfolio of flexible workspace units from operating company, Safeland, for £26 million (€30 million; $43 million).