West Palm Beach (HedgeCo.net) – Argo Group, an emerging markets investment manager, announced the launch of The Era Shopping Park Iasi. Projected to generate EUR 18 million ($25.7 million) in annual rental income the launch is funded by Argo’s private equity fund, the Argo Capital Partners Fund 1, together with a local joint venture partner, Omilos Group.
"From Argo’s perspective this has been an excellent investment," says Argo Capital Management chief investment officer Andreas Rialas. "Through our partnership with Omilos we acquired two excellent sites at a time when property and land prices were relatively low. Since then both projects are well advanced and demonstrating their potential to generate substantial returns."
The Park is the first of two planned retail parks to operate under the Era Shopping Park brand. The Iasi retail park will be the largest outside of Bucharest and the second largest in Romania.
Based in Romania’s second largest city, situated in the north-east of the country close to the Moldovan border. The Era Shopping Park Iasi will offer on completion more than 115,000 square metres of gross lettable area.
The second facility planned, the Era Shopping Park Oradea, is located in Oradea in the north-west of Romania, close to the Hungarian border. This smaller project with a gross lettable area of 65,000 square metres is expected to open in March next year. The Oradea site is projected to generate annual rental income of EUR 10.5 million.
"Economically, Romania continues to perform strongly. Following its EU accession, there has been a significant uplift in consumer spending and as demonstrated by tenant demand for Era, western European retailers are increasing their presence in the country," Rialas concluded.
The Argo Group has significant experience in property notably through the Argo Real Estate Opportunities Fund, a Guernsey-domiciled closed-ended investment company that invests in the commercial property markets of Central and Eastern Europe. The AIM-listed company is managed by Argo Capital Management Property, which has offices in London, Bucharest and Kiev.
The Argo Capital Partners Fund I was launched in August 2006 to focus on delivering private equity returns from different types of investments and situations in emerging markets. The fund, which was launched targeting a minimum internal rate of return of 40 per cent, has not yet exited any investments.
Its current portfolio includes Infarmasa, a generics pharmaceutical company in Peru, Nigerian commercial and retail bank Intercontinental Bank, Greek triple-play telecommunications Telecoms and Russian regional bank Probusinessbank as well as the Era Shopping Parks.
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