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JLL advises South African fund Hystead on the purchase of Skopje City Mall, Macedonia

JLL has advised the South African JV Hystead Limited on the purchase of Skjope City Mall, the largest shopping centre in Skopje, Macedonia, for €92 million.

Skopje City Mall extends to 36,500 sq m and is situated on the periphery of Skopje, the capital city of Macedonia, originally developed as a JV between Balfin Group and Fashion Group which opened in 2013.

Uros Grujic, Head of Capital Markets of JLL in SEE stated: "This deal is further evidence that investors are seeking new markets in emerging Europe. With other CEE markets witnessing record low yields, South Eastern Europe can still offer good quality shopping centres available at sensible pricing and with improving debt conditions.

This year we have witnessed South African investors enter this region and their appetite for product is growing. We have completed three record breaking deals in SEE in 2016 and expect more by year end.

This deal was particularly satisfying as our valuation team initially advised EBRD on the financing of the development back in 2009 and the vendors have been a client since then".

The deal follows Hystead's successful acquisition of the Delta City shopping centres earlier this year in Belgrade, Serbia and Podgorica, Montenegro, deals that were also the largest single asset deals in their respective countries to date, and involved JLL as sale-side advisors.

Andrew Peirson, Managing Director of JLL-SEE and Romania continues: "Following the sale of Skopje City Mall, we have clearly posited ourselves as a true regional leader across the SEE region. With two other large retail schemes set to close by year end, we expect the trend of international capital to continue flowing into the region as key investors look to get a foothold within the SEE region. Going forward we expect to see this growth in retail investment carry into the office market, where Belgrade in particular offers extremely attractive investments and favorable supply/demand dynamics with clear supply pipeline requirements for the next five years.

The Skopje City Mall transaction is the fifth shopping center to be traded by JLL within South Eastern Europe in the past 14 months and with two other centers set to close by year end we will total approximately EUR 650 million of traded assets across the SEE region in the past 18 months."