Less than a year after South Africa’s largest REIT Growthpoint took a stake in Romania-focused, AIM-listed Globalworth, the latter has already started expansion, buying control of Polish firm Griffin Premium from US private equity group Oaktree.
Griffin Premium, listed since April on the Warsaw Stock Exchange, was set up as a REIT despite the absence of legislative backing from the Polish state for full REIT status. It was spun off last year from Griffin Investment, the original holding for Oaktree in Poland.
Griffin Premium holds around €600m mainly office and high street retail property around Poland but is closing new assets near term that will take AUM up past €800m, its senior executives told BIE. CEO Malgorzata Turek says there is plenty of opportunity in the regional cities, where Griffin already has development activity. “And we have just moved into a project in Gdansk, which holds a lot of potential,” she said.
Griffin CFO Rafal Pomorski said Globalworth signed an agreement taking 50% plus one share to give a controlling stake – and also giving them the possibility of moving up to 60% of equity, and even beyond. A company release put this at a maxium 67.9%.
But both executives emphasised that the new investor provides the resources to expand Griffin activities strongly in Poland. Growthpoint Managing Director Estienne de Klerk told BIE at the EPRA annual conference in London last month that one of the reasons for taking a large minority stake in Globalworth was to draw on its expertise in Romania, particularly Bucharest, and potential to expand throughout central Europe, especially Poland.
Griffin Premium is registered in the Netherlands but active solely in Poland, and listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. The investment is being made through a public tender offer, which a unit of Globalworth – Globalworth Asset – will make at a price of PLN5.50 (€1.27). The offer price implies an aggregate equity value for Griffin of PLN859m (€199m) and represents a premium of 8.5% to the average weighted market price since its IPO on 13 April this year. Griffin Premium was formed in December 2016.