Warburg HIH set to expand team and asset sources

Warburg HIH Real Estate has hired former CBRE central and eastern Europe expert Martin Sabelko to run its new Vienna office.

From the Austrian capital the company said it aimed to cover the local market as well as the Czech Republic and Hungary, dependent on demand.

“Among our investors there is a broad demand for the Austrian market,” said Alexander Eggert, managing director at Warburg HIH. “Many of them even have a ‘must have’ quota for Austrian real estate in their strategic asset allocation. With the Czech Republic and Hungary it is mostly a ‘can have’ quota, if that.”

Andreas Schultz, managing director Warburg HIH Invest, added: “Austria is a boring market in a positive sense. Our investors value it because of its stability and very little potential for surprises.”

Sabelko’s priority will be Viennese offices and retail parks in major regional cities, but everything in commercial real estate such as offices, hotels and retail centres will be looked at, Warburg HIH said.

One purchase in Salzburg will “soon be revealed”, the new hire promised at a press conference in Vienna. He also targeted doubling Warburg HIH’s current €600m in Austrian assets “in the near future”. The firm runs €6.5bn in total.

Warburg HIH said it also wanted increase the local know-how for its German clients that make up 92% of its asset sources.

However, Sabelko has also targeted new Austrian clients to add to the four insurers and one Pensionskasse the real estate company currently has in the country.

Eggert confirmed Warburg HIH wanted to “globalise” its client base and asset sources. This would include opening two more new offices for the Benelux region and one in Poland.

“Poland has reached a critical mass to warrant its own office in the near future,” Eggert said.

Schultz added: “Already at the beginning of the next year we will be opening an office for the Benelux region focusing on the Netherlands.”

Recently Warburg HIH also sent a representative to Korea to test the waters there, but Eggert emphasised that the firm was “only dipping a toe in”.

Sabelko also has experience in dealing with Asian investors from his 10 years at CBRE. He led the purchase the IZD Tower in Vienna on behalf of a Korean pension fund. In spring 2016 he closed the deal on the Stafa shopping centre in Vienna for Germany’s BVK.

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