EBRD funds €60 million retail project in Russian regions

By Richard Wallis

The EBRD is providing €60 million in long-term funding to complete the construction of an energy efficient shopping centre that will boost employment and retail opportunities in Russia’s third largest city, Novosibirsk, a major transportation hub in the heart of western Siberia.

The EBRD is the lender of record for the full amount but has syndicated a €20 million B loan to Unicredit Bank Austria AG. The B loan’s exceptionally long 8-year maturity matches that of the EBRD’s own €20 million senior loan to OOO SibStroyInvest.

In addition, the EBRD is extending an eight-and-a-half-year subordinated loan for a further €20 million to the same borrower.

The project, the EBRD’s third in the Russian property sector since the crisis hit the country in the autumn of 2008, will help bridge the gap in retail development between Novosibirsk and the other large regional cities of the Russian Federation.

The energy saving techniques used in the construction of this shopping centre will result in a 59 percent improvement in the building’s energy performance. These energy savings translate into reductions in greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 8.5 thousand tonnes of CO2. Sustainable energy investments in the project amount to €4.6 million.

The Aura Shopping Centre in Novosibirsk whose completion the EBRD is funding, will boast 59,479 square metres of gross leasable space and over 1,500 parking spaces. The project’s total cost is expected to be around €154 million.

Sylvia Gansser-Potts, Director of the EBRD’s Property & Tourism Team, said the project highlighted the Bank’s support for Russia’s regions in a difficult environment, by making possible the completion of a partially constructed development, which will set new benchmarks in terms of quality and energy efficiency.

Commenting on the B loan syndication, Gabor Somogyi, CEE Banking Division of Unicredit Bank Austria, said the transaction underlined Unicredit’s role as a long-term investor in Russia and its commitment to a key international client, as well as its very good relationship with the EBRD.

“We are excited to continue our successful relationship with the EBRD and Unicredit through this project. Amstar and Renaissance Development continue to target high-growth yet under-served markets with the development of quality real estate featuring state-of-the-art design elements and the latest technologies in energy efficiency,” said Jason Lucas, Vice President of Amstar Global Partners.

OOO SibStroyInvest is a special purpose limited liability company incorporated in Russia and ultimately owned by Amstar Global Property Fund I L.P. and the Ilicak Family of Turkey. The Ilicak Family has acquired long experience in property development and management in Russia through the subsidiaries of Renaissance Construction Group.

Amstar Global Property Fund I, L.P. is a limited partnership managed by Amstar Global Partners, an affiliate of Amstar Group, a real estate private equity firm headquartered in Colorado that invests throughout the United States, Central & South America, Eastern Europe and India.