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Miller Developments Completes Purchase Bulgarian Shopping Centre

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Miller Developments has completed the investment purchase of Mall Varna, the largest new retail and leisure development in Bulgaria, from Interservice Uzunovi.

The €120 million deal represents Miller's biggest property transaction in continental Europe and is one of Bulgaria's largest transactions this year.  Miller's involvement in the scheme dates back to June 2007 when it signed a conditional contract to acquire the scheme on its completion. 

Mall Varna, which opened for trading in June 2008, offers 33,000 sq m of GLA, which is made up of around 150 shops, along with extensive leisure facilities including a multi-screen cinema, bowling alley and food court.  It boasts an international line-up of tenants, including Adidas, Camper, Esprit, Nike, Nine West, Swarovski and L'Occitane.

Keith Miller, Group Chief Executive, The Miller Group, said: "Mall Varna is an impressive addition to our portfolio and the investment is part of the Group's ongoing strategy to expand its presence in Europe.  Despite the current economic climate we expect the retail market in Bulgaria to continue to grow, making this prime asset a very attractive investment opportunity. This latest acquisition means Bulgaria is one of eight countries in which we are now operating outside the UK."

Phil Miller, Chief Executive of Miller Developments, added: "Only the best deals are obtaining finance in this market so this deal underlines the capability of the Miller Developments team to source and execute the best transactions." 

David Milloy, Joint MD of Miller Developments comments: "This scheme epitomises our aspirations in eastern Europe, having worked with a local partner to deliver a truly international class product.  It is a significant acquisition in an emerging market and will prove to be a durable asset over the medium term."

Funding for the deal was provided by the Austrian Raiffeisen Bank.  Miller Developments represented itself, while Cushman & Wakefield, in association with Forton International, advised Interservice Uzunovi.

Varna is Bulgaria's second largest city and the country's leading tourist destination, with a population of 460,000 growing to over 1 million during the peak season. It has also become a focal point for an increasing number of overseas investors.  Mall Varna is the first quality retail and leisure centre in the City.