SHARES in AltX-listed Greenbay Properties surged 6.43% to close at R1.49 after announcing it had bought its first asset — a shopping centre in Slovenia in central Europe.

Greenbay, which is also listed in Mauritius, will acquire Planet Tuš shopping centre for €56m cash, at an acquisition yield of 8%. Situated in the port city of Koper, the centre has a gross lettable area of 31,625m², and opened for trading in 2010.

Greenbay is a hybrid property company that invests in other property stocks, and also directly in real estate. The company was created by the Resilient property stable that is led by industry stalwart, Des de Beer.

The Resilient stable wants Greenbay to achieve similar capital growth to that of the Romanian shopping mall owner New Europe Property Investments (Nepi) and Polish-focused Rockcastle Global Real Estate.

Nepi and Rockcastle both form part of the Resilient group of companies.

Greenbay’s initial plan is to invest in listed European property funds and distressed real estate assets. But CEO Stephen Delport said on Monday that the fund was highly opportunistic, and could veer from that mandate, depending on the deals it came across.

Greenbay concluded an agreement with Tuš Real Estate to acquire the mall.

Planet Tuš has the highest footfall in the Koper region, with an annual figure of more than 3.5-million people. It is located close to the city centre of Koper, which is a major port town on Slovenia’s coast.

Planet Tuš shopping centre has a catchment of 577,000 people, reaching from Trieste in northern Italy to Pula in Croatia. The port city of Koper benefits from well-developed infrastructure, and a large and active commercial port. It is also a popular tourist destination.

Delport said he could not give further details about the deal, because Greenbay had entered a closed period on July 1.

Slovenia has stronger economic metrics than various other central and eastern European countries. These include an A-S&P Global Ratings credit rating, while Austria has AA+, Croatia BB+, Poland BBB+, and Romania BBB-.

Slovenia’s GDP grew 2.5% in 2015. Its unemployment rate is 12.30%, and it is a small country with a population of 2-million people. Its GDP is about $49bn, and GDP per capita is $19,111, far higher than that of Croatia, Hungary, Poland, or Romania. However, it falls short of Austria’s GDP per capita of $41,077.

Planet Tuš is tenanted by a number of retailers including Tuš, Cineplexx, Zara, and H&M.

"Management believes that the tenant profile can be further strengthened, which will enhance the mall’s dominance, and enable it to grow its income into the future," Greenbay said.

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