NBGI strikes first Polish property deal

The London-based private equity firm is the latest to be lured by Poland’s relative economic strength

NBGI, a British private equity firm specialising in small- and medium-sized companies, has entered into a Polish property deal.

The firm, which manages a southern and eastern Europe real estate fund as well as venture vehicles, has bought a logistics park in Garwollin near Warsaw for around €16 million – its first real estate deal in the country. The asset, Panattoni Park, is fully let to global cosmetics firm Avon, and the seller was British pension fund and insurance firm Standard Life.

In a statement, NBGI said it was looking at other opportunities in Poland, notably one of the few markets in the world not to suffer negative GDP in 2009.  According to Polish think-tank The Globalization Institute, Poland is the 26th fastest developing economy in the world, having managed 1.7 percent GDP growth in 2009. That meant it was one of only 10 countries in the world to post positive figures.

Mirroring the relative economic health, the firm said mainstream private equity deal flow in Poland had seen an upturn, with more than half of all buyouts in the second quarter of this year in central and eastern Europe occurring in the country. Unsurprisingly, private equity real estate firms have also taken note.

Just last month, London-based First Property Group launched a £100 million (€115 million; $159 million) opportunity fund called FProp Opportunities, saying that it was looking to exploit deals particularly in Poland. The firm said positive economic fundamentals, growing occupier demand within the property market and relatively few buyers of Polish commercial investment property at present had created good buying opportunities.

Back in January, MGPA, the Europe and Asia-focussed firm, struck probably the largest real estate deal in Poland since the credit crunch when it acquired two shopping centres for €187 million.