Lebanese SFO Group joins with Swiss Life in Artemis JV


Corpus Sireo

Swiss Life Asset Managers has sold a majority ownership in the German office portfolio “Artemis” to Saradar Family Office Group (SFO), a Lebanese multi-family office and real estate investor, marking its entry into European property. The price of the stake was undisclosed.

Swiss Life AM said in a release that it and SFO will remain co-investment partners throughout the holding period. Corpus Sireo Real Estate, a fully-owned subsidiary of Swiss Life AM in Germany, will continue as asset manager for the portfolio.

Swiss Life AM purchased Artemis in March from Goldman Sachs, giving no price details, although it is known that Goldman Sachs itself bought the portfolio in May 2017, citing a market value of €442m.

The portfolio consists of 11 value-add office properties, predominantly in North Rhine-Westphalia and the Rhine-Main region, with total floor space of about 108,000 sqm. A number of value-enhancing effects have already been achieved since the takeover, the firm said. The key objective is to further reduce vacancies and carry out essential refurbishment measures.

Benjamin Koch, managing director at Corpus Sireo, said, "We are delighted to set up this new international relationship with SFO Group as a seasoned global real estate investor now entering the German market. This is a further milestone underpinning Swiss Life Asset Managers’ ability to raise third-party equity on a cross-border basis and therefore to provide access for our partners to European real estate products."

SFO has taken this opportunity to gain a footprint in Germany – with the perspective of enlarging the exposure, the company statement said. Mario Saradar, Chairman and CEO of Saradar Capital Holding, parent of SFO Group, said the partnership with Swiss life AM is an important milestone for the group in expanding its international real estate footprint.

SFO Group CEO Mohamad Abouchalbak added: "This transaction illustrates SFO Group’s capabilities in sourcing superior off-market transactions in highly competitive geographies with exceptional partners. We look forward to further developing our relationship with Swiss Life Asset Manager and collectively expand our portfolio in Europe.” The SFO holding group has been at the centre of the Lebanese financial sector for more than 70 years and employs more than 2,000 people.

Swiss Life AM, which employs about 1,600 staff, had assets under management for third parties at 30thJune 2018 amounting to €194.4bn, with more than €47bn invested in real estate, making it the leading real estate manager in Europe. Additionally it has a further €25.2bn of real estate invested under administration through its subsidiaries Livit and Corpus Sireo, bringing its total to €72.2bn.

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