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Property investor buys out partner's stake in plaza

UK-based property investment fund Lanebridge Investment Management (LIM) has bought out Active Asset Investment Management's (AAIM) stake in Budapest's Arena Plaza shopping centre to make it the sole owner, LIM investment director Simon Smethurst said on Wednesday.

LIM agreed to buy AAIM's 50% stake in Arena Plaza at the end of 2007, but did not take an active role in the management of the shopping centre until October 2008. The sale was closed on June 26, 2009. Hungary's MKB Bank was the main financer for the acquisition of the stake.

Smethurst declined to reveal the purchase price.

When LIM took over the management of Arena Plaza, it concentrated on marketing, resulting a 25% rise in visitor numbers in June over the same month a year earlier. Between 65% and 70% of retailers in the center reported a rise in profit during the period.

About 97.5% of Arena Plaza's 66,000 square meters of retail space is rented out. Just 13 of 200 storefronts stand empty.

LIM is 51% owned by NM Rothschild and Sons commercial bank. The rest of the fund's owners are investment professionals. The fund manages assets worth more than €1 billion. (MTI-ECONEWS)