Ljubljana, 11 July (STA) - Austrian shopping centre operator Supernova has acquired all the Qlandia shopping centres in Slovenia, the news portal Siol reported on Thursday. No figures were disclosed, but Siol says that the 19 shopping centres, of varying sizes, were valued at EUR 267 million by Qlandia operator Centrice in 2017.
The deal was reached after years of talks with Centrice owner, Lone Star RealEstate Fund from the US, reported Siol, which labelled the transaction as one of the biggest real estate deals in the history of Slovenia.
The portfolio that changed hands includes shopping centres in Novo Mesto, Nova Gorica, Kranj, Maribor, Kamnik, Krško and Ptuj, six smaller shopping centres in Ptuj, Jesenice, Murska Sobota, Slovenj Gradec, Škofja Loka and even smaller QCentres in Slovenska Bistrica, Maribor, Metlika, Novo Mesto, Ravne na Koroškem and Slovenjske Konjice.
Lone Star RealEstate Fund still has to repay about EUR 258 million of the loans it took out to buy Centrice in 2016, said Siol.
The first Qlandia shopping centre opened in 2006, the last one in 2011. This was one of the key real estate projects of Austrian bank Hypo in Slovenia.
After the bank went bankrupt, the shopping centres were transferred onto Heta Resolution Fund, the bad bank that took over Hypo's projects, and acquired by Lone Star in 2016.
According to the annual report of Centrice Real Estate Ljubljana, the funds for the 2016 acquisition were provided by the US bank JP Morgan, said Siol.
The acquisition by Supernova comes on the heels of the shopping centre operator's EUR 117 million acquisition of the premises of 10 Mercator shopping centres previously owned by Slovenia's biggest retailer.
Siol says that the moves will open the door to the Slovenian market even wider to Austrian retailers, such as Spar, Mercator's biggest rival.
Supernova owns more than 80% of shopping centres in Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Slovakia and Romania, with their combined market value exceeding EUR 1.2 billion, Siol said.