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NEPI Rockcastle - Acquisition of Paradise Center Bulgaria

NEPI Rockcastle, the leading listed retail real estate company in CEE, announced that it has acquired Paradise Center in Sofia, Bulgaria, for an aggregate purchase price of EUR 252.9 million, subject to obtaining approval of the Bulgarian Competition Authority. Following this acquisition, Paradise Center will be one of the five largest assets in NEPI Rockcastle's portfolio in terms of market value and together with Serdika Centre, acquired earlier this year, establishes a strong position for the company in the Bulgarian market. 

With a gross lettable area of 82,000 sq m, Paradise Center is the largest retail centre in Sofia, the capital city of Bulgaria. The centre is strategically located in the affluent southern part of the city, which is undergoing strong development. Opened in 2013 and benefitting from a corner location at the intersection between two main traffic arteries and direct access to the newly built M2 metro line, Paradise Center has an annual footfall in excess of 10 million visitors. 

The mall is let to major national and international tenants such as Bershka, Cinema City, Forever 21, H&M, LC Waikiki, Massimo Dutti, New Yorker, Pull & Bear, Reserved, Sephora, Sport Vision, Sofia Event Center (a conference facility), Stradivarius, Technopolis and Zara. The centre has a strong food and entertainment area, which includes both a complete fast and slow food line up, a fitness facility with a 25m swimming pool, as well as a playground. New asset management and leasing initiatives, including major improvements to the basement and the terrace level together with enhancements to the tenant mix, will further strengthen its dominant market position as the premier retail and entertainment destination in Sofia. 

This new acquisition reflects NEPI Rockcastle’s expansion strategy of focusing on quality urban shopping centres with high rental growth potential located in cities with strong demographics. With a growing population of over 1.32 million inhabitants and benefitting from a developing infrastructure and strategic location, Sofia is a major hub for international railway and automobile transport, with three Pan-European corridors crossing the city. 

During the last couple of years, Bulgaria’s economy has shown robust growth, with GDP growth of 3.6 pct in 2015 and 3.3 pct in 2016. Growth is forecast to remain strong at 2.8 pct-2.9 pct per year in 2017-21 (compared to a forecast growth of 1.4 pct-1.5 pct in the European Union), as domestic and external demand continues to increase (according to the Economist Intelligence Unit). 

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