Israeli company wants to become prominent player in Polish retail park sector as it announces €65m investment

An Israeli group founded in 1994 by Yehuda Naftali and which owns 26 open retail centres and malls, is expanding operations in Eastern Europe and the Balkans.

BIG Shopping Centers Israel has entered the Polish market by acquiring two retail parks for €65 mln situated in the cities of Andrychow and Lubin. The company said it wanted to become a prominent player in Poland’s retail park sector.

Hay Galis, CEO, explained: ‘These purchases reflect the company's plans to locate strategic assets in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Entering the Polish market is essential to becoming a prominent player in the market and Poland is full of potential for development.’

Big is already a major strategic investor in Central Europe. It acquired 51% of AFI Properties in 2019 alongside Mega Or and other institutional entities. AFI owns, manages, and develops properties across five Eastern Europe countries, mainly in the office and residential sectors, with a market cap of €2.1 bn. Like Big, AFI Properties is listed on the Tel Aviv stock exchange.

Galis explained: ‘We continue to expand our activity in Eastern Europe through AFI Properties, which is currently experiencing a boom of activity, as reflected in the scope of the new transactions it carried out during the last year and in the development of projects under construction.’

The two retail assets it has acquired both have an occupancy level of 100%, or very close to it.

The Andrychow retail park style asset measures 23,300 m2 with several anchor tenants such as LIDL supermarket and the DIY store chain Leroy Merlin. The second asset in Lubin is a smaller at 13,300 m2. Carrefour and Sports Direct are among the tenants.

Big was established in 1994 and has a market cap of €3.1 bn. As well as open shopping and lifestyle centres it owns and manages logistics, offices, and residential and renewable energy assets.

It recently acquired a 70MW solar power project in North Macedonia.


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