The development strategies announced by the new market leaders indicate a long period with no modifications in the top of the largest owners. This is not due to the absence of financially potent investors, but to the absence of the real estate assets available for sale in order to create a new leader.
The most spectacular entry in the top was the one of the Dutch company CTP. In the last half of year, the investor which studied the Romanian market for seven years became the largest logistic facilities owner in the country. In order to achieve this position, the investor spent approx. EUR 150 million, money that could buy a mall like Promenada Bucharest or two office buildings like BOB and BOC near the metro station Pipera. In other words, this kind of ascension is impossible to replicate on the office or retail sectors.
„On the industrial segment such a big market share could be reached in such a short time with less capital, as the market was fragmented and the value of assets is lower. On retail and office segments, in order to reach the top market leaders, largest amounts are needed. And the duration of the transactions in order to accumulate such a portfolio is also longer“, has declared Andrei Văcaru, capital markets consultant & head of research within JLL.
The more unexpected was the rapidity of the ascension to the top of the office segment by Globalworth, a company founded by Ioannis Papalekas in the summer of 2013. By a blast of acquisitions and spending almost EUR 360 million, Globalworth has surpassed this July the leader of almost a decade, Immofinanz.
The road of New Europe Property Investments (NEPI) towards the crown of king of malls was even shorter. In the first five years of crises, the company accumulated seven commercial centres with a commercial area of 260,000 sq. m. The acquisition of City Park Constanţa in the end of 2013 was the one that propelled the investors in the top. Ever since, the retail portfolio of NEPI increased with nearly 80 pct. up to 12 malls evaluated at one billion Euros. Moreover, the company became the largest owner in the country, with its assets being evaluated to EUR 1.6 billion, almost 70 pct. more than of the second placed, Immofinanz.
The tightest battle is carried out at the top of the office segment. The new building developed by Immofinanz across the road from Pipera metro station would ensure again the company the leader position, but until the building’s completion, scheduled for the first quarter of next year, Ioannis Papalekas will be already delivering the tower Bucharest One, situated in an advanced phase of construction. After the completion of these buildings, the difference between the office areas owned by the two competitors will increase from the current 4 pct. to 17 pct.
As for the rest of the competitors in top five, except for the inheritors of Dinu Patriciu, who do not have any actual expansion plan, both Liviu Tudor and CA Immo have expressed their intention to develop new office projects, but these will not change the current hierarchy. The Orhideea Towers project of CA Immo will decrease considerably the difference compared to the portfolio of Liviu Tudor, but even if the Romanian entrepreneur would not expand, it will remain at approx. 5 pct.
On retail segment, the only change in top is expected from AFI Europe, which could enter fourth position if plans for starting two new malls next year are going to be respected. Iulian Dascălu is trying hard to catch up with NEPI, but they cannot recover the difference despite the launching of their recently launched mega-project in Timisoara, especially as NEPI continues its expansion. Argo Real Estate and Immofinanz didn’t announce new projects on this market segment.
On short term, the only predictable modification of the logistic owners top comes from the company P3. After the acquisition of Europolis Logistics Park, which propelled the investor directly on the third position, P3 started the expansion of the project with another warehouse facility. After its completion, scheduled for April 2016, the company will climb the second position, outrunning the Belgian company Alinso. The contracts of expansion Globalworth has for Timişoara Airport Park will increase the area of the project to 123,400 sq. m, not enough however to exceed the dimension of the two parks Valad owns near Bucharest. If the new owners of Valad, the Australian fund Cromwell, still didn’t give signs of continuing the expansion in Romania, Alinso continue to expand Ploieşti West Park, but only build-to-suit and also selling the property to the solicitor, a reason for the portfolio’s area could remain unchanged. New players entering the market by acquiring the industrial properties of Immofinanz will not change the top on short term. However, Logicor, the company which entered in exclusive negotiations with Immofinanz, has over 110 ha available for expanding the current area of approx. 52,000 sq. m.
The effervescence of the real estate market in the last months, which makes the consultants to expect for this year total transactions of EUR 800 million, is pushing even more the new leaders. The three investors will continue to increase their portfolios, but the attention is changing from acquisitions to projects development. „Regardless the acquisitions to me made, the new leader will continue to consolidate their market share by through their ongoing developments“, considers Andrei Văcaru.
Even if the retail properties of NEPI have a 15 pct share in the total area of Romania’s modern commercial spaces, the investor is not stopping its expansion on this segment. For this autumn, NEPI scheduled the delivery of the expansion of Severin Shopping Center and of the Carrefour hypermarket with commercial galleries within the new mall, Shopping City Timişoara. Next year, NEPI intends to launch the mall in Timişoara, another mall in Piatra Neamţ and to expand Promenada mall in Bucharest. Only this plan involves investments exceeding EUR 100 million.
The largest office owners didn’t lose yet its appetite for acquisitions. Globalworth recently raised EUR 53.8 million by a capital increase, to be used for the acquisition of a portfolio including 26 real estate assets in Romania and an office building in Bucharest, as well as the financing of the three office projects in construction. Only for the completion of the office buildings in construction, the developer needs more than EUR 220 million. As for the acquisition of a new office building, the investor probably targets the second building developed by Skanska in Romania, as the first was also bought by Globalworth.
Apart the five logistic parks bought this year, CTP also acquired nearly 90 hectares for expansion. The new target of the investor is to reach assets of more than EUR 250 million in Romania. In such an environment, the only predictable way for new investors to show on the market is by making acquisitions, as the already existing players have insured consistent land areas for future developments.
„Those who will start new developments will be especially players familiar with the market. However there are also regional groups which analyze carefully potential developments in Romania and which intend to enter the local market by acquiring lands or projects“, concludes the JLL’s consultant. (source: capital.ro)