Morgan Stanley makes its first investment in Poland

Following similar moves in other emerging markets, the bank’s real estate special situations fund is buying into a Polish developer to gain exposure to the country’s burgeoning property market.

Morgan Stanley Real Estate has acquired a 25 percent stake in WAN SA, a Warsaw-based developer of residential, office and logistic properties. The deal represents the investment bank’s first real estate investment in Poland.

The acquisition price was not disclosed.

Equity funding for the transaction comes from Morgan Stanley Real Estate Special Situations Fund III, which closed on $2.2 billion (€1.7 billion) last year.

Morgan Stanley has been among the first foreign investors to move into emerging markets such as Russia, Turkey, China and India. In many of those cases, it has purchased stakes in real estate developers, principally through the special situations vehicle, instead of buying direct assets

Last year, Morgan Stanley acquired a 20 percent stake in Russian retail and industrial developer RosEvro Development and a 15 percent stake in Moscow-based residential developer RGI International. Earlier this year, the firm acquired a 25 percent stake in another Russia developer, RBI Holdings, and a 14.3 percent stake in Brazilian real estate broker and developer Abyara Planejamento. At the time of the Abyara transaction, Morgan Stanley’s first in Brazil, the total value of the special situations portfolio was approximately $3 billion.

Poland is a more mature market than either Russia or Brazil, but it is nevertheless still attracting foreign investors.

John Carrafiell, global co-head of Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing, said in a statement: “We believe Poland’s strong economic growth, and its strong demand for quality real estate, provide an attractive opportunity to expand our investment platform.”

He added: “WAN is a fast-growing and entrepreneurial company with an outstanding track record of organic growth.”

Witold Anyszka, president of the supervisory board of WAN, said: “The partnership with Morgan Stanley Real Estate will allow us to continue the realization of our strategy not only in Warsaw, but also throughout Poland.”

The statement also revealed one of the potential exits for Morgan Stanley. Anyszka said: “I am confident, that together we can achieve our goal of listing WAN on the Warsaw Stock Exchange within the next few years.”