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Meinl Land to raise up to €1.5 bln in share sale

Meinl European Land Ltd., an Austrian company that bought four shopping malls in Moscow last year, plans to raise as much as €1.48 bln ($1.9 bln) in a share sale to finance real-estate projects in central and eastern Europe.

Meinl Land, based in Vienna, will sell 75 million new shares priced at €19.70 each through February 9, the company said today on its Web site. The proceeds will be used to build malls in Poland, Russia, Bulgaria and Romania, spokesman Francis Lustig said today at a briefing in the city. The Austrian company, which raised about €1.7 billion from two share sales last year, is building and buying property in eastern Europe to take advantage of yields that are higher than in western Europe.

Economic growth in the region is creating demand for office and retail space, boosting returns. „If there is a need for more money for our projects, we will come back to the market,” Lustig said. „It also depends on the interest of investors in this sale.” The company has invested about 42% of its total assets in Russia, followed by Poland with 22% and 13% it has spent in Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Shares of Meinl Land dropped 1 cent to €19.79 at 11:26 a.m. in Vienna, bringing the gain for the past 12 months to about 30%. The company has a market value of €4.45 billion. Meinl Bank AG is managing the stock sale. (Bloomberg)