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BA-CA Real Invest Maintains Pole Position in Open Real Estate Funds in 2007

  • About €200 million of fresh investor capital for the fund specialist despite capital market turbulence
  • Uncontested market leader with a 44 per cent share of the market, investment trust with superior performance
  • Real estate markets in CEE turn from seller's to buyer's markets

BA-CA Real Invest, the UniCredit Group real estate fund specialist belonging to Bank Austria, braved the turbulence on the international capital market with success in 2007 and further strengthened its role as market leader in open real estate funds.

Until April of this year, the premium funds Real Invest Austria and Real Invest Europe were able to post an uninterrupted influx of funds amounting to about €204.5 million. The volume of funds is therefore now at €851.9 million. BA-CA Real Invest's market share also rose from about 41 per cent (2 January 2007) to about 44 per cent (31 March 2008). "Although the real estate market is sound, the capital market crisis also manifested itself there and made 2007 a difficult year for real estate investments. Investor confidence in my company is a striking affirmation of our sustainable investment strategy," says Gerhard Dreyer, CEO of BA-CA Real Invest.

BA-CA Real Invest increased its operating result by 12 per cent in the last financial year to €18.8 million. Its result on ordinary activities improved by 8 percent to €17.2 million, its ROE amounts to 19.6 per cent (2006: 18 per cent) and its cost/income ratio is at 28.6 per cent (2006: 30.7 per cent). BA-CA Real Invest's balance sheet total at the end of the year adds up to an almost unchanged €810.9 million. Dreyer: "From product development to investment and asset management and supervision of ongoing business – everything under one roof. That is BA-CA Real Invest's formula for success."
BA-CA Real Invest offers two open investment funds for safety-oriented investors with a long-term investment horizon: Real Invest Austria and Real Invest Europe. "With a positive growth in volume of 129 per cent and 41 per cent, respectively, we are well ahead of the competition in terms of attracting investor capital," says Karl Derfler, BA-CA Real Invest director for marketing and sales, with pride.

Real Invest Austria possesses a conservative portfolio of properties in Austria that are eligible for inclusion in trusts. It invests especially in properties in the infrastructure and housing sectors that are already developed and fully let. The tenants generally have the best financial standing. At the moment Real Invest Austria has a total of 60 properties in Vienna and in other Austrian population centres. Ninety-one per cent of the fund's assets are currently invested. Real Invest Europe is pursuing a pan-European investment policy and is investing in Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe as well as in Germany in order to profit from the sound market opportunities currently available there. Its main focus is on "office" and "retail" use categories, and again on fully developed properties. Its investment rate is 118 per cent. Both funds are aiming for a stable return of 5 to 6 per cent over the long term.

"With our funds we have always pursued a very conservative investment policy with a correspondingly high degree of investment. That is what attracts our investors," says Herbert Logar, BA-CA Real Invest director of real estate management. According to his estimates, the real estate market is currently going through a new differentiation in terms of access to capital, networking, know-how and resources, and is again moving away from a commodity market. For this reason, large real estate portfolios are nearly unsellable at the moment, while good individual projects are still holding their value. For want of capital, the real estate markets in Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary have turned from seller's to buyer's markets in the last eight months. Market participants with high levels of borrowed capital are increasingly disappearing, while equity capital investors such as BA-CA Real Invest are discovering real financial opportunities.

Primarily against the backdrop of forced liquidation – many banks are "full to the brim" with real estate financing – Logar expects good opportunities again for entry into Central and Eastern Europe soon. Rentals and returns are currently on their way to normalisation. "We are currently amassing capital reserves in order to be able to capitalise on market potential at the right point in time in a rapid and efficient manner," says Logar.

Enquiries: Bank Austria Press Office Austria
 Tiemon Kiesenhofer, Tel. +43 (0) 50505 ext. 52819
 E-mail: Tiemon.Kiesenhofer@unicreditgroup.at