Immofinanz Shifts Westward After Moscow Malls Drive Loss

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IMMOFINANZ OFFICES

Immofinanz AG office stands in Vienna.

Photographer: Dieter Nagl/Bloomberg

Immofinanz AG will focus on expanding its holdings in Germany, Austria and Poland after writedowns on Moscow shopping malls pushed the Austrian landlord to a full-year net loss.

The company is also in talks to sell its logistics assets, which have a book value of 448 million euros ($489 million), Immofinanz said in a statement on Friday. The proceeds, together with a sale of its stake in former residential unit Buwog AG and borrowing, may give Immofinanz about 2 billion euros to invest in acquisitions and new projects, Chief Executive Officer Oliver Schumy told journalists in Vienna.

Immofinanz’s shopping centers in Moscow, which make up about a quarter of its 6.7 billion-euro portfolio, suffered as sanctions imposed by the U.S. and Europe continue to weigh down Russia’s economy. The shift of focus comes three months after Schumy took over from Eduard Zehetner, who had said he was still seeking new investments in Russia.

“It makes sense to invest more in the west,” Schumy said. New projects in Russia won’t be started before economic conditions improve to pre-crisis levels, he said.

Immofinanz rose 4.5 percent to 2.33 euros in Vienna trading as of 11:22 a.m., the highest since June 11. The stock has climbed 11 percent this year, giving the company a market value of 2.5 billion euros.

Writedowns in Russia and eastern Europe as well as the euro’s depreciation against the dollar resulted in a 361 million-euro net loss for the 12 months through April. Roughly two thirds of Immofinanz’s assets are in the east.

Immofinanz will try to regain its ability to repay a dividend as quickly as possible after skipping the payout for last year, the company said.

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