Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Hyprop Investments plans to list its eastern European assets separately in the near future, following its first acquisition in Bulgaria.

UK-based Hystead, which is co-owned by JSE-listed Hyprop and PDI Investment, announced on Thursday the €156m acquisition by its subsidiary Balkan Retail of all the shares in Bulgarian company AP Retail, which owns The Mall shopping centre in Sofia.

This is Hystead’s fourth southeastern European acquisition, growing its portfolio to a gross asset value of €460m.

Hyprop CEO Pieter Prinsloo said the acquisition meant that about 10% of the assets were in eastern Europe.

"This acquisition is Hystead’s first entry into an EU country, which will enhance the quality and profile of the Hystead fund. Our ultimate intention is to dual list Hystead and we believe this acquisition will add substantial critical mass to our portfolio.

"The Mall is the dominant shopping centre in Sofia and is regarded as one of the best centres in Bulgaria. It has 52,000m² of gross lettable area, with about 200 tenants," said Prinsloo.

A shopping centre team of 23 would remain in place to retain critical skills.

Peter Clark at Investec Asset Management said Hyprop’s acquisitions could be assessed only after a while.

"South African investors have not yet experienced a bear market in eastern Europe.

"The size of these markets, such as Sofia, make them extremely illiquid when the cycle turns, and so investments have to be viewed with a very long-term mind-set," he said.

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