Valad raises €200m for Central Europe

The London-based real estate investment management firm hopes to build a portfolio of shopping centers, retail parks and other outlets worth €500 million through a new joint venture with a “new investor.”

Valad Europe, the London-based real estate investment management firm, has raised €200 million for investments in retail real estate in Central Europe. 

The firm, which currently is the subject of a sale process by its majority owner, The Blackstone Group, said it had entered into a joint venture with an unnamed “new investor”to build out a portfolio of assets.

The portfolio, to be called the Valad Central Europe Retail Partnership (VCERP), is expected to be extended to €500 million, assuming gearing at between 60 percent and 70 percent. Debt will be sourced from Valad’s existing lender pool, the firm said.

The joint venture has been seeded with the acquisition of the Galeria Butovice shopping centre in Prague from ING Real Estate Finance. Other investments are expected in the country and in Poland as well.

VCERP will invest in first- and second-generation shopping centers, retail parks and retail outlets in primary and secondary locations. Valad will seek to acquire individual properties, primarily in lot sizes ranging from €10 million to €60 million, and portfolios in excess of €50 million.

Karol Pilniewicz, Valad Europe’s head of Central Europe, commented: “Our local team on the ground is actively seeking attractive investment opportunities that meet VCERP’s investment criteria and where we can apply value-added asset management strategies to generate attractive returns. VCERP will build on our strong track record of managing retail assets in Central Europe, where we have invested more than €600 million in retail investments.”

Valad Europe, which manages €4.9 billion across 20 funds and mandates in Europe, currently is being marketed for sale by Blackstone, which bought the business in 2011 for its sixth opportunity fund. UBS is advising, and it is thought a sale could happen by the end of the year.