Monthly Archives: January 2010

US fears secret banking cabal

Last post for the day from across the pond…But if you’re interested in following the mood in the US, it’s all about Bernanke now, and whether he deserves another stint at the head of the Fed. There’s been suspicious Internet chatter under the radar for months about his suitability, but the impact of former Fed chief Paul Volcker getting Obama to push for serious banking reforms is going wider. When Bloomberg runs an opinion piece entitled “Secret banking cabal emerges…”, you know something’s going on. Continue reading


Citigroup selling off property

Distress or no, Citigroup’s a vendor that’s discovered it doesn’t want to be in the property game anymore, meaning that somewhere between $5bn to $10bn worth of assets are currently on the market. That indicates the company believes there’s investor interest, and financing available. Apollo Global Management and Macquarie Group are thought to be in the running.

Property owners have found it difficult to refinance because the market for commercial mortgage-backed securities that fueled the real estate boom has slowed. CMBS sales fell to $12.2 billion last year from a record $237 billion in 2007, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. Falling values are likely to spur rating cuts for subordinate CMBS bonds sold from 2006 to 2008, Moody’s said in November.

That’s an amazing stat: $237bn in CMBS sales in 2007 down to $12.2bn in 2009.

Anti-Auchan activism in Hungary

The Internet’s great for spreading information between people all around the world. It’s also great for organizing people against developments they don’t like. Not that the extension of a parking lot at Auchan’s Dunakeszi store looks stoppable at this point. Local citizens don’t like the fact it will ruin a marshy area near the existing lot.

Citizens of Dunakeszi, activists in environmental protectionism and students rallied on Saturday for the marsh of Dunakeszi. Some weeks ago a debate had broken out among the defenders of the marsh (in Hungarian: láp) and the Auchan supermarket deciding to extend its parking lot on the marsh. Continue reading

Sparkassen Immo looking for CEE investors

Sparkassen Immo board member Holger Schmidtmayr has told the Wall Street Journal his company has no plans to pull out of CEE. Just the opposite. He says the fund will actually quit investing in Germany and Austria.

Holger Schmidtmayr told Dow Jones Newswires in an interview that the company is planning to invest EUR400 million in the next two years in the major capitals of Central and Eastern Europe, excluding Poland, which has become too expensive. “We are looking for developments with longer term, international tenants and stable income,” he said. Continue reading

HB Reavis: Ivan Valent replaced by Slavomir Jankovic

A press release this morning from HB Reavis indicates that chairman of the board Ivan Valent has been replaced by Slavomir Jankovic, who’s been director of development since 2006. Jankovic worked previously for Shell and before that for MOL. No word yet about the reasons for the shake up.

BNP Paribas predicting recovery

Everyone’s getting out their crystal balls these days. BNP Paribas Real Estate are the latest, and they’ve opted for a more optimistic outlook. Its chairman Peter Rosler says investment could rise 20 to 30%, which while certainly the direction we’d all like to see, doesn’t exactly get us back to the good old days. The Irish Independent writes:

Speaking at BNP Paribas Real Estate’s annual property presentation in Paris, Patrick Curran, managing director, BNP Paribas Real Estate Ireland, said the price correction that occurred in all European markets was allowing investors to come back into the markets in order to catch opportunities. “Moreover, deals larger than €40m are being closed again more frequently, showing that investors are able to get access to credit more easily.” Continue reading

JLL regional management changes

We mentioned that Ferenc Furulyas had taken over the reins of JLL’s Budapest office, and the company has now made it official with a press release. At the same time, it announces officially that Troy Javaher will be managing director in Bucharest (he will retain his role as head of capital markets). For those who want to read it, the press release can be viewed here.