Revitalization at (Green) Heart: GTC’s with BigSEE Award

Green Heart, a unique example of best practices in sustainable and responsible development, has received the BigSEE Interior Design Award. Created together with KDA Architects, the Green Heart stands out for its clear, minimalistic concept, inspired by nature and timeless design. The award recognizes the groundbreaking revitalization that GTC has done to make Green Heart a true landmark of New Belgrade district. As a result of the company’s circular approach to property management, one can now enjoy a unique green oasis secluded within five high-end offices in the business heart of the city.

Green Heart was recognized for its ultramodern interior design – the result of complex revitalization – by BigSEE, the industry awards selecting the best projects across 21 countries of the Southeast European region. Together with KDA Architects, GTC’s aimed to create a green oasis framed within futuristic office campus in the bustling business center of Belgrade, while working with already existing real estate assets. The out-of-this-world interior design became the “cherry on top” element of complex revitalization GTC had been carrying out for the last 12 years. Clear, minimalistic, custom-made elements inspired by nature combined with a strong accent of floral compositions inside and outside of the buildings create an illusion of no boundaries between the office space and the outdoor environment. Thus, the tenants and visitors of Green Heart can seamlessly roam around the business campus, without even noticing the “switch” between this green oasis and the work environment.

With the concept behind Green Heart, we wanted to show that sustainability can be minimalistic, refreshing and ergonomic while improving the well-being and comfort of our tenants. Since we put a lot of work into the revitalization of the office park, it is a great honor for us to be recognized by BigSEE Awards among 1500 amazing projects across the whole SEE. Such achievement is an important milestone not only for our operations in Serbia, but also a sign that revitalization along with investing in sustainable technologies and futureproof architecture is an efficient way to grow our business. Thanks to the hard work of KDA, Octogon, Modelart architects and our asset management team we can now rightfully call ourselves the landmark campus of New Belgrade” – commented Pedja Petronijevic, GTC’s Country Manager in Serbia.

The Green Heart office complex has a unique history in the GTC’s sustainable office portfolio. The project started back in 2008, when the developer constructed the two buildings, known as the GTC Square – 10,800 sq m and 11,500 sq m respectively, after which their territory and facilities have underwent substantial revitalization. After moving the old parking lot underground, the company has constructed three contemporary buildings, delivering in total 24, 000 sq m of new A-class office space, embedded in green oasis. The two existing buildings have been modernized to meet the increasing demand among tenants and compose a unique office campus according to the required environmental criteria. In February 2021, Green Heart became fully LEED certified, thus finalizing the revitalization process for the whole complex. Currently, the project is the state-of-art business campus, occupying 46,300 sq m in the bustling business district of New Belgrade. On top of that, each square meter of Green Heart’s territory is tailored to satisfy the most exquisite tenants’ needs. From an out-of-this-world interior to a rich gastronomic offer, green courtyard or highly accessible wheelchair facility – GTC made sure that everyone who enters this green campus-style oasis leaves it with peace of mind.

Green Heart is our success story of the revitalization efforts that pay off in the long run, and BigSEE Award proves that. GTC has made its name for excellent property management, as we pay particular attention to the renovation and upkeeping of our assets. This approach stems from the principles of sustainable development and responsible construction that steer our operations across the whole CEE. By breathing in “second life” to our properties, we save resources, reduce carbon footprint and “recycle” already existing assets by making them safer, greener and more community friendly. This helps us not only to enrich our portfolio with brand-new, functional properties, but also achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals, such as affordable and clean energy, responsible consumption and production, sustainable cities and communities, among others” – said Yovav Carmi, President of the Management Board of GTC.  

Landmark transaction in Serbia: GTC sells office portfolio to Indotek Group

  • GTC has signed a sale and purchase agreement for the sale of its standing office portfolio in Belgrade.
  • The transaction concerning 11 buildings in 5 projects of total 122,175 sq m will be closed in Q3 2021.
  • The sale price is 267.6 mln euro, 2 mln euro above the book value.

Globe Trade Centre has decided to sell its Belgrade office portfolio to the Hungarian investor Indotek Group. The proposed acquisition price is 267.6 mln euro, exceeding the book value of GTC’s Serbia portfolio as of 31 December 2020. The agreement will cover the sale of 11 buildings within 5 business parks of a total 122,175 sq m GLA with high occupancy rates, located in the New Belgrade district. Once completed in Q3 2021, the sale will become one of the largest real estate transactions in the last 5 years on the CEE market.

Intending to optimize its operations in Serbia, GTC has signed a sale and purchase agreement for the sale of 11 premium quality office buildings within 5 business parks – Green Heart, FortyOne, Belgrade Business Center, 19 Avenue and GTC House – occupying over 122 ths. sq m in the business heart of Belgrade. The transaction price of 267.6 mln euro is slightly above the book value as of 31 December 2020 of 265.6 mln euro which proves the prudent valuation of GTC’s portfolio.

“The sale of 11 premium class office buildings in Belgrade is a bold move which will allow us to complete our development cycle in Serbia and start a fundamentally different chapter on this market. The sale of the Serbian portfolio couldn’t be timelier as we are currently in process of redefining market strategy and advancing our operations to be more sustainable and futureproof. This is benchmark transaction in Belgrade demonstrating liquidity post covid. Selling some of our assets and relocating the free cash flow for the development of brand-new, ambitious projects in Serbia and other markets of CEE is truly an “exit on a strong note”, which will drive us forward.” – said Yovav Carmi, President of the Management Board of GTC.  

The agreement is expected to be completed in Q3 2021. Once closed, the deal with the Hungarian investor will represent one of the largest real estate transactions on the CEE market in the last 5 years. With that, GTC will become one of the first companies to complete the development circle in Serbia – from land acquisition and construction, through years of enjoying the high rent levels and free cash flow, to the exit on respectable terms. This opportunity will help re-balance the company’s portfolio towards higher rated countries including Poland and Hungary while the buyer a Hungarian investor, the Indotek Group, is happy to enter the Serbian market with such a strong portfolio.

“Indotek Group has been present in its domestic market for almost 25 years. In the last decade the company also started to expand outside of Hungary, resulting in Indotek Group being active in 10 countries today. We have been looking for the opportunity to enter the Serbian market for a long time, and with the current transaction we are able to significantly strengthen our position in the region. I am particularly proud that our first transaction in Serbia makes us one of the most dominant participants in the Belgrade office market.”said Dániel Jellinek, Founder and CEO of Indotek Group.

GTC as Sellers were represented by Dentons and ZSP Legal while Indotek Group as Buyer worked with lawfirms Lakatos Köves and Partners as well as BDK Advokati.

The decision to sell a portfolio of office buildings in Belgrade was motivated by the GTC’s strategic plans to re-establish its Serbian market position and invest in other CEE markets where the developer is active. The company plans to allocate a free cash flow generated from the transaction to the development of cutting-edge projects on both Serbian market as well as in higher rated economies.

Recently, GTC has invested 160 mln euro in the acquisition of two office properties in Budapest: the Ericsson Headquarters and the Siemens Evosoft Headquarters. Apart from that, the developer plans a few ambitious projects, including those in Serbia – GTC X and Project Blaze, designed to stand out with modern building systems and the latest architecture trends to meet the most exquisite tenant requirements. Both developments will create a fundamentally new critical mass of the office buildings, bringing GTC back to the pedestal of the Serbian office market.

Growing stronger: Eszter Salamon joins GTC as Transactions Director

  • As Transactions Director, Eszter Salamon will be responsible for real estate transactions across all GTC markets.
  • Eszter’s appointment will foster the successful completion of upcoming high-volume transactions on CEE markets.

GTC has appointed Eszter Salamon to the position of Transactions Director. Her outstanding in-depth sector knowledge and profound experience in real estate and financial operations will boost GTC’s optimization and expansion goals. With Eszter on board, the developer sets for smooth completion of the upcoming large-scale transactions in various markets.

Eszter Salamon is full-stack finance and transactions professional with over 20 years of experience gained in recognized multinational companies. Prior to joining GTC, she held the position of Real Estate Management Director at OTP Real Estate Fund Management Zrt., one of the top three real estate fund management companies in Hungary. Within her position, Eszter was responsible for management of assets in the portfolio of the fund amounting to over EUR 1000 mln, as well as performing high-value transactions in the CEE region. As a committed team player, Eszter also led her department through COVID-19 crises, handling rental receivables and tenant requests to keep vacancy rates of OTP’s portfolio at bay.

Before that, Eszter held various executive and project finance management positions in CIB and MKB banks in Hungary. Her duties ranged from financing A-class office buildings through supporting the large-scale multifunctional development in the region with external partners to sale transactions. Throughout her career, strong financial background and deep industry knowledge allowed Eszter to excel at negotiating with real estate development companies and close M&A transactions with major international companies worth EUR 60-220 million.

“It’s always a pleasure when such a well-rounded professional is willing to share her exclusive knowledge and experience for our mutual success. I am excited to welcome Eszter as she joins our team as the Transactions Director. With several large transactions awaiting us across different markets, I am confident Eszter’s outstanding expertise in real estate markets coupled with excellence in financial operations will drive GTC’s success beyond our expectations” – commented Yovav Carmi, the President of the Management Board at GTC. 

Eszter Salamon graduated in the faculty of Finance and Corporate Valuation with an MSc in Economics, at the Corvinus University of Budapest.

 Throughout my career, I have realized one thing – when it comes to real estate, nothing can beat professionalism and smooth cooperation within a team. Joining GTC, I would like my experience to contribute to an already impressive talent pool of development experts. I believe together we can propel the Group’s development strategy towards a steady, long-term growth at the CEE markets” – commented Eszter Salamon, Transactions Director at GTC. 

Recently, GTC has completed several key transactions across CEE markets. The developer has boosted its Hungarian portfolio by investing EUR 160 million in the acquisition of two office properties in Budapest: the Ericsson Headquarters and the Siemens Evosoft Headquarters. Prior to that, GTC acquired the brand-new Váci Greens D office building in Budapest. The transaction was partially financed from the green bonds issued in 2020, following the Group’s strategy to invest in a sustainable portfolio of commercial buildings located in the CEE capitals.  

Results still under the COVID-19 impact but leasing activity comes back in both retail and office sectors

Q1 2021 FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

  • Gross margin from rental activity at €27m (€30m in Q1 2020), despite €2.4m impact of COVID-19 in Q1 2021 (€4.5m impact to pre-COVID levels of Q1 2019)
  • Operating profit: profit before tax and fair value adjustments at €15m (€13m in Q1 2020)
  • FFO strong at €14m (€18m in Q1 2020), FFO per share at €0.03
  • EPRA NAV at €1,123m as of 31 March 2021, EPRA NAV per share at €2.31 (PLN 10.77)
  • Solid financial metrics:
    • LTV at 45.5% (45% as of 31 December 2020)
    • WAIR at historical low of 2.3% (2.3% as of 31 December 2020)
  • Strong liquidity position with cash and cash equivalents at €254m as of 31 March 2021
  • Green bonds issued in the amount of €54m in March 2021 (25% oversubscription)

Q1 2021 PORTFOLIO HIGHLIGHTS

  • OFFICE: ACTIVITY STRONGER THAN IN 2020
    • Leasing activity focused mostly on prolongations reached close to 40,000 sq m
    • Occupancy remained strong at 90% as of 31 March 2021 (90% in December 2020)
    • €212m invested in Q2 2020 into fully leased offices in Budapest with long WAULT and blue chip tenants will contribute €11.8m p.a. to our in-place rent
  •  RETAIL: COVID-19 STILL VISIBLE IN Q1 2021 RESULTS HOWEVER CURRENTLY 100% OF SPACE OPERATIONAL
    • Lockdowns in Poland, Bulgaria and Serbia lead to an impact on gross margin of €2.4m in Q1 2021
    • Currently, 100% of our retail GLA is allowed to trade
    • Retailers continue to expand
    • Occupancy improved to 96% as at 31 March 2021

First quarter was extremely busy. As all the businesses around the world we were focus on mitigating the COVID-19 impact. But we already saw a more positive sentiment compared to 2020. Our office leasing activity improved significantly from 70,000 sq m in the whole 2020 to almost 40,000 in the first quarter 2021 itself. Also retail saw some significant lease agreements and openings. Additionally, we proceeded with our acquisition plans and invested EUR 212m in the prime offices in Budapest acquiring Vaci Green D, Ericsson Headquarter and Siemens Evosoft Headquarter, which are fully leased to blue chip tenants and will contribute significantly to our annual NOI. Those acquisitions further complement and boost our green office portfolio in CEE and are a part of our strategy of refocusing more on Poland and Budapest. We financed the acquisitions with our own funds combined with bank financing and green bonds issued in late 2020 and early 2021.” – commented Yovav Carmi, GTC’s President of the Management Board.

“On the top of acquisitions we were also preparing GTC to the change of our financing structure and move from individual bank loans for particular projects to unsecured bond funding. We would like to tap the liquid bonds market for more flexible and hassle free instruments, similarly to our regional peers who successfully approached the bond markets recently. We aim to issue the Eurobonds still prior to the summer.” – commented Ariel Ferstman, GTC’s CFO and Member of the Management Board.