Significant changes are taking place in the ownership of Croatian shopping centres.
The closure of the Arcotel Allegra Hotel in Zagreb’s Branimir Centre is the result of a major acquisition drive by the Austrian Supernova group, which has purchased Branimir Centre and Kaptol Centre. At the same time, the hotel which was part of the Branimir Centre will be taken over by the founders of the HOK Insurance company, who are planning to open one of Hilton hotels there within a year, while Arcotel Hotels is looking for a new location in Zagreb, reports Poslovni.hr on October 21, 2017.
Arcotel Group was established in 1989 in Vienna and currently has 11 hotels in Austria, Germany and Croatia. The group employs more than 850 people. It is not interested in destinations on the Adriatic coast, and it reportedly already has several potential locations in Zagreb. The existing hotel needed reconstruction and new investments anyway, so Arcotel is not too worried about losing its premises at the Branimir Centre.
The hotel’s size is ideal for some of Hilton’s city brands such as DoubleTree, which currently operates in the Green Gold Centre at Radnička Cesta (road), which is why the HOK Insurance company is involved in the project of the future hotel. According to court records, the founder of the Zagreb City Hotels, which operates the current DoubleTree by Hilton in Zagreb, is Hrvoje Pezić, who is together with Danko Ćorić the founder of Zodax, a company which is the founder of HOK Insurance.
Pezić allegedly plans to invest in a hotel which would reach the quality demanded by the Hilton Group for its city hotels within a year. A year or two should also be enough for Arcotel to open its new hotel in the centre of Zagreb.
This is all part of significant changes in the Croatian shopping centre sector, which were initiated by the Austrian Supernova group, which did not want to comment on the latest transaction. A year ago, there were reports about the sale of Branimir Centre as part of the action of monetising assets owned by Italian Unicredit Group, which is the owner of Zagrebačka Banka. Along with the Branimir Centre, the deal at the time was also thought to include the Point Centre in Zagreb, Portanova in Osijek, and City Colloseum in Slavonski Brod. The plans have apparently changed somewhat in the meantime.
Vedrana Likan from the Colliers office in Zagreb confirmed that they had several interested buyers for the Kaptol Centre. “The sales negotiations regarding the Kaptol Centre lasted for more than a year. We had several interested clients, but all the negotiations broke down when Supernova appeared as a contender,” said Likan.
The Austrian company has apparently decided to take advantage of the investors’ accumulated debts to increase its market share in the shopping centre market. In January, they took over the Garden Mall shopping mall in Zagreb, retail parks in Koprivnica and Sisak, and a retail park in Požega. The premises were purchased in the bidding procedure regarding a portfolio linked to Hypo Bank.
After the takeover, the Supernova Group, which also owns facilities in Buzin, Zadar, Šibenik, Karlovac, Sisak, Varaždin and Slavonski Brod, became the leading company in Croatia by the number of owned shopping centres. A few days later, it was announced that Supernova had also entered into the ownership of the Cvjetni Centre in Zagreb.
It was rumoured at the time that Supernova would continue with its acquisition drive, which has now been confirmed.
Translated from Poslovni.hr.