Real estate investment company Grivalia may increase the number of properties it owns by more than 25% by the end of the year amidst a positive outlook for top end assets, said its chief executive Wednesday.
In an interview with greekguru.net, Grivalia Properties chief executive George Chryssikos said the company expects to benefit from recent changes to its shareholders and that lower funding costs than competitors will help Grivalia pay for future acquisitions.
"We have 93 assets in our portfolio but this number will increase over time, possibly hitting 115-120 by the end of the year. We have an appetite to keep investing," said Chryssikos.
Majority owned by Canada's Fairfax Financial Holding, Grivalia has been on a spending spree, snapping up prime assets ranging from hotels in northern Greece to retail space in Athens. The company is moving to lock in low property prices after the broader sector was decimated by Greece's eight year downturn and prior to an expected recovery to the country's economy. Grivalia's current property portfolio is valued at some 870 million euros.
There is still some downside to the broader market's current downturn, Chryssikos said, who added that "prices in prime real estate assets - such as retail, office space and logistics - are seen continuing to rise ."
Earlier this month, Grivalia went through one of its biggest changes since being listed on the Athens bourse in 2006. Former parent company and key business partner Eurobank sold its remaining 20% stake in Grivalia, ending an 18 year link between the two companies. The move, however, is seen as boosting transparency in Grivalia and attracting investors who were concerned about Eurobank's dominant role in the company.
"In the back of their minds, some investors were concerned that Eurobank's interests in Grivalia took priority over other investors. Our biggest achievement was in convincing them that this was not the case and that we were independent. Now this is a lot more clear," said Chryssikos.
Other foreign institutional investors with positions n Grivalia include Wellington Management Company, Fidelity Management Research and Brandes Investment Partners but this list is seen growing soon.
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Grivalia has set up a platform targeting hospitality assets, called Grivalia Hospitality, and this company has been drawing interest from investors on the back of Greece's strong tourism sector. Grivalia Hospitality recently entered a joint venture to purchase a hotel in Thessaloniki after having purchased a Panama island earlier in the year.
"Soon we will have good news with the entry of a new investor into Grivalia Hospitality - it will be a top gun investor," said Chryssikos.