Unibail-Rodamco SE has increased its investment in Europe and is planning to add an additional mall in Berlin.
The company already owns nine malls in Germany, with a value of €4.1bn and hopes to buy or construct a second shopping mall within Berlin. It is also in the throes of investing in excess of €100m for the renovation of its Berlin mall, Gropius Passagen.
The Paris-based company made the decision to move beyond the French borders and place their focus on larger malls in the bigger cities, as the growth in online shopping has affected the smaller centers. Germany is an expansion opportunity and the company is taking advantage of the increase in retail sales and rise in wages of the largest economy in Europe. Unibail currently holds 91% of MDI AG, based in Essen.
The group is considering the purchase or construction of centers in the seven largest German cities, including Cologne, Munich and Hamburg. This is dependent on locating deals in line with its return on investment, customer base and size.
Unibail is considering the sale of the Gera Arcaden mall, located south of Leipzig, as it does not meet all its criteria. The center was purchased by MFI during 2011 at a cost of €107m.
The company owns four of the 10 biggest malls in Germany and manages 18 malls on behalf of clients. Its target for 2015 is to gain market share from the biggest mall company in Germany, ECE Projektmanagment, which is controlled by the Otto Family from Hamburg. This will prove to be a challenge against a formidable competitor.
The largest development zone in Germany, Hamburg’s HafenCity, is currently in talks with Unibail to construct a shopping hub with €1bn as an investment. No comment has been received from Unibail regarding this matter.