Signa closes on €200m

The European firm says German and Austrian LPs have committed to its development fund targeting Austria and neighbouring countries

Signa Real Estate Capital Partners, the European opportunistic fund manager, has closed its Development Fund I on commitments of €200 million ($267 million).

The firm, which has offices in Vienna and Innsbruck, attracted German and Austrian insurance companies, pension funds and trusts account for the bulk of the institutional investors. Ten percent of the figure is co-investment capital from parent company, Signa Group.

The vehicle will focus on prime real estate and core developments, meaning properties and sites in premium locations which have a high potential for value creation when developed. Signa Group will develop the assets via its own development platform and is looking at retail and offices in Austria and neighbouring countries.

The firm manages two other funds – Signa Real Estate Private Equity Dresden 01 Fund , which invests in residential real estate in Dresden, and Signa Real Estate Capital Partners Berlin 01, which was sold in 2007 to German public property company, Colonia Real Estate Group.

Of its latest fundraise, Sebastian Greinacher, chief executive, said the firm had gained the trust of investors in a “challenging market”.

Since its launch, the vehicle has made several investments such as the former headquarters of Bank für Arbeit und Wirtschaft (BAWAG) in Vienna, which will be turned into a retail and office complex.

“The transformation in the real estate and financial market which has followed the global economic crisis has led to a number of opportunities to invest in attractive real estate which is much higher than before the collapse of Lehman Brothers – and the time to act is now,” said Signa Holding founder CEO, René Benko.

Signa Group was established 10 years ago and is one of Austria’s biggest real estate companies.

As well as a private equity real estate business and a development business, Signa Group also owns Düsseldorf-based closed real estate fund company Signa Property Funds which caters to retail investors via closed ended funds.