Maurice Greenberg’s Starr International Company, following a $900 million Moscow development deal last month, is now involved in another partnership to buy $786 million worth of Eastern European real estate projects, his company said.
The announcement today by Starr in New York and the London-based Letterstone Group said they had done an initial funding of EUR100 million ($157 million) and have plans to acquire EUR500 million ($786 million) in real estate development investments.
Over the next 15 months, the concerns said that a new joint venture, LS Real Estate Ventures B.V., plans to invest in real estate developments initially in Hungary, Slovakia and Romania, and later in the Ukraine.
The investment properties, it was explained, will consist of a mix of multisector investments in existing property, properties with alternative use potential and new-build developments.
Letterstone is a real estate investment fund manager, and Starr International is a private investment company. Mr. Greenberg, Starr International’s chairman, was the long-serving chairman and chief executive officer of American International Group until he was forced out in an accounting scandal.
“This partnership is a testament both to Letterstone’s local investment platform and success in this region and the long-term experience that Starr International has in investing in alternative asset classes,” said Simon Hill, Letterstone chief executive officer.
Mr. Hill praised Starr International as “a highly experienced international investment group.”
Mr. Greenberg said Letterstone is “able to utilize their own on-the-ground operations in the countries where they are investing to source deals which offer excellent value.”
The statement from the companies said that Central and Eastern Europe “have been a focus for increased levels of investment, and the growth in these levels are expected to continue in the near future at an increased pace.”
Letterstone describes itself as a firm that “sources niche developments/projects in locations where there are opportunities for a strong and secure revenue stream or potential for uplift by change of planning regulations / usage etc.”
The firm says it specializes in selected markets of Central and Eastern Europe–namely Hungary, Slovakia and Romania–”which have and continue to provide high returns for our investors.”
Starr International Company Inc., which was incorporated in Panama in 1943, serves as a private financial services holding company with approximately $20 billion in assets worldwide.
These investments are made through direct investments, publicly traded securities and private equity funds with a focus on financial services, real estate, health care and energy businesses.
Starr International on March 13 said a consortium it was part of had sold off a multi-use office development project on a tract in central Moscow for $900 million.
The firm said the 6.23-acre, four-building project in a prominent area of the city was sold to KanAm Grund Kapitalanlagesellschaft mbH, a German real estate investment fund group.
Jessica Anderson, a spokesperson for Starr International, said the company had bought into the property that was sold in June of 2007 when construction was underway. The development is expected to be completed in mid-2009 when KanAm will take ownership of the buildings.