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North Real Estate raises €100 mln in share sale

North Real Estate Opportunities Fund Ltd. raised €100 million in an initial public offering to invest in retail parks and logistics properties in central and eastern Europe. North Real Estate was set up by London-based hedge fund company North Asset Management LLP. Robert Provine, who will manage the fund with Magnus Lofgren, plans to invest as much as €400 million, including debt, within 18 months, he said yesterday in an interview. This year, 23 real estate companies have listed shares on European stock markets, raising a total of about $4.7 billion, according to Bloomberg data. Property companies are targeting central and eastern Europe because prices are lower than elsewhere on the continent and potential returns are higher. „There was strong interest from the market,” Provine said. „The amount we raised was very much based on the existing business plan. We could have raised more.” North Real Estate will spend about half the money on existing properties that it will bring up to investment-grade quality for institutional buyers. The fund will use the rest to develop its own projects, focusing on Romania and Bulgaria. Provine and Lofgren will also invest in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. The company has identified some of the assets it wants to buy, Provine said. He declined to say when it may complete the first acquisition. North has no plans to invest in offices, he said. The fund's shares were sold at €1 each. The stock closed at €1.01 on London's Alternative Investment Market. Panmure Gordon & Co. advised North Real Estate on the IPO. North Asset Management oversees assets of more than $1 billion. (Bloomberg)