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Former NEPI execs launch CEE platform

The ex-CEO and CFO of one of Romania’s largest real estate investment managers have set up their own shop and have already raised €260 million to invest in CEE.

The founders of New Europe Property Investments (NEPI), a Johannesburg-listed property investor, have set up a new real estate investment company to focus on Central and Eastern Europe (CEE).

Martin Slabbert, NEPI’s former chief executive, and Victor Semiononv, NEPI’s ex-chief financial officer, have formed Prime Kapital which will focus on investing and developing properties in the region. The pair have already raised €260 million and is targeting to invest €500 million in the medium term.

NEPI started investing in Romanian real estate properties after the global financial crisis, including developments such as the Mega Mall in Bucharest. NEPI had net assets of €1.5 billion at the end of December 2015 and its current market capitalization is €3.3 billion.

“In the past nine years we have managed to successfully build a large real estate investment and development business, mainly focused on retail. There are, however, wide opportunities in the real estate sector, so I’ve decided together with Victor to start a new structure: a privately-owned company managed by a solid team of partners,” said Slabbert.

“The absence of short-term objectives, which pressures many listed companies, opens opportunities that we didn’t have in the previous structure,” added Semionov.

Part of the firm’s €260 million comes from a joint venture with Johannesburg-listed property investor Mas Real Estate. Prime Kapital committed an initial €30 million for a 60 percent equity interest, while MAS has committed to invest an initial €20 million for a 40 percent equity interest.

MAS has committed to invest an additional €100 million in the JV, with an option to invest a further €100 million, to be drawn down by Prime Kapital over a four year period.