Metro inks €250m sale-and-leaseback deal for CEE store portfolio

Metro Properties, the real estate arm of cash & carry group Metro, has inked a sale-and-leaseback deal for 11 cash & carry stores in Poland, Hungary and Czech Republic worth €250 mln.

The portfolio has been acquired by FLE Vienna, a subsidiary of French investor LFPI Group, investing on behalf of an alternative-investment regulated fund.

Metro and Makro will continue to operate all wholesale locations on the basis of long-term lease contracts.

'Real estate markets are close to historically low yields,' said Jürgen Schwarze, chief financial officer of Metro Properties.

'Taking advantage of a healthy real estate market, we can capitalise on our strong operational standing, thereby crystallising value to make new investments and pursue further projects,' Schwarze said.

'The sale of selected assets from the real estate portfolio in the Central Eastern European region is one example of our global portfolio strategy,' said Wolfgang Baumgartinger, director of transactions at Metro Properties, adding that the deal would 'unlock real estate value built up and fostered by continuous successful operations'.

'All properties are excellently located with very good accessibility and visibility. We see this investment as an important milestone for our investment strategy in CEE countries,' said Dr. Alexander Klafsky, managing partner of FLE.

Store portfolio
The total portfolio of 11 properties comprises 5 Makro cash & carry stores in Poland (Warsaw, Wroclaw, Krakow and Lublin), 3 Metro cash & carry properties in Hungary (Budapest) and 3 Makro cash & carry markets in Czech Republic (Prague). Metro Properties retains the ownership of several adjacent plots in Poland and Czech Republic to develop mixed-use projects.

According to Metro, its real estate division is mandated to carry out 'future-oriented investments in relevant locations, their sustainable development and sale-and-leaseback transactions with long-term commitment'.

For the Polish transaction, Metro Properties was advised by DLA Piper Gizinski Kycia sp.k. (legal services) and Colliers Poland (broker services). In Hungary, the advisory services of Oppenheim (legal services) and Colliers Hungary (broker services) were engaged. For the Czech Republic, PRK Partners (legal), PwC (financial) and Colliers Czech Republic (broker services) advised.

In all three jurisdictions TPA Group undertook financial due diligence and tax advice for FLE. Legal services for the purchaser were rendered by Allen & Overy in Poland, Novalia in the Czech Republic and DLA Piper in Hungary.

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