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Russian billionaire selling off Zaha Hadid-designed tower - sources
August 28, 2017 / 3:33 PM / 2 months ago

Russian billionaire selling off Zaha Hadid-designed tower - sources

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A conglomerate controlled by Russian billionaire Mikhail Gutseriev and his family is selling off a $400 million portfolio of assets, including Russia’s only completed building designed by architect Zaha Hadid, two real estate sources told Reuters.

A general view shows Dominion Tower, an office block designed by architect Zaha Hadid, in south-east Moscow, Russia August 28, 2017. REUTERS/Andrey Volkov

The Gutseriev family’s Safmar holding includes a bank, B&N, which, according to ratings agency Fitch, has seen a decline in liquidity. The holding has said it was considering a capital injection for the unit.

Asked by Reuters if the property sell-off was linked to financial issues at the bank, a spokesman for Safmar said the group had long been seeking to sell non-core assets and they would not be sold at a discount.

According to the two real estate sources, Safmar last week held a presentation for real estate consultants to pitch them the portfolio totalling 900 different assets.

The holding was represented at the meeting by Sait-Salam Gutseriev, who is Mikhail Gutseriev’s brother and plays a lead role in Safmar’s real estate businesses, said the two sources, who attended the meeting.

The most expensive single lot, according to a prospectus circulated by Safmar and seen by Reuters, is Dominion Tower, an office block in south-east Moscow designed by Hadid.

The Iraqi-British architect, who won worldwide acclaim with her futuristic designs, died of a heart attack aged 65 last year. The prospectus valued the building in Moscow at 2.2 billion roubles ($37.64 million).

The real estate sources said the portfolio was made up of assets that Safmar acquired when its businesses rescued struggling Russian banks and inherited their loan books, including physical assets that had been seized from borrowers who defaulted on their loans.

An interior view shows Dominion Tower, an office block designed by architect Zaha Hadid, in south-east Moscow, Russia August 28, 2017. REUTERS/Andrey Volkov

Other items in the prospectus included second-hand trucks, family dwellings, land and office buildings.

The prospectus gave the total value of the assets as 22.9 billion roubles, or around $400 million.

Slideshow (3 Images)

The Safmar spokesman said the group had spoken previously of its readiness to sell non-core assets, including real estate assets, for the appropriate price.

“That absolutely does not mean a discounted sell-off,” the spokesman said in an email to Reuters.

The spokesman also said the portfolio was not worth $400 million, but did not say what the correct figure was.

The holding’s Chief Executive, Avet Mirakyan, told Reuters earlier this month Safmar was looking at divesting some of its real estate assets. He said that after a period of rapid expansion the group now wanted to consolidate.

“In general, the same as any other business, we don’t have assets we want to be sitting in forever. If we see a good opportunity to exit from an asset, we will consider it,” Mirakyan said.

($1 = 58.5495 roubles)

Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Adrian Croft

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