Metals group Viohalco to list property arm in Athens

Viohalco to list property arm in Athens

Belgium-based metals company Viohalco has applied to Greek authorities to list its real estate arm on the Athens bourse amidst strong demand for its property assets, the company has informed investors.

A growing number of Greek companies are moving to better develop their real estate after property prices plummeted by more than 40% in the country's eight year economic downturn. Signs that the market has bottomed out - or is close to it- are helping add shine to commercial assets, such as hotels and retail space, on the back of Greece's strong tourism market and the country's expected economic recovery.

In a report on its first half earnings released Monday, Viohalco said that it applied to Greece's Capital Markets Commission in June to list its real estate arm called Noval. The metals group, which owns shopping centers, office complexes and the Wyndham hotel in Athens, is in the process of restructuring its real estate operations, it said.

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In the first half of the year, Viohalco picked up investment activity in property, spending 2.2 million euros versus 1.4 million euros in the same period a year earlier. The most significant asset purchased were facilities adjacent to its River West shopping centers in Egaleo, western Athens, it said.

Improving confidence in the sector has also prompted other players to go public with their property plans.

Earlier this year, IT group Quest listed its real estate subsidiary BriQ on the Athens stock market, while Lamda Development plans to list a subsidiary that owns Greece's largest shopping center, The Mall (northern Athens), along with US investment fund Varde partners.