Signature sells Frankfurt building with 70% return – Sunday Business Post

Dublin property investment group Signature Capital has off-loaded a prime shopping centre in Frankfurt for €52 million, earning a return of 70 per cent for investors in the space of 18months.

The group, which manages assets worth €700 million in Germany, the US and Britain, concluded the sale of the Zeilgalerie, a high-profile 130,000 square foot building at the centre of Frankfurt’s shopping district, in recent days.

Ciaran McNamara, Signature managing director, said he was ‘‘delighted’’ with the return on the investment in what he called the current ‘‘challenging’’ environment.

But he said the German commercial property market had held up well and that the credit crunch would continue to throw up fresh acquisition opportunities, as buyers faced difficulties in securing funding for their investments and sellers of certain assets adjusted their prices accordingly.

“The German market has continued to perform relatively well. We are confident that the current market conditions will create a number of attractive investment opportunities which we will actively pursue in Germany and our other markets.”

Enda Woods, Signature director, said the group had worked hard to increase the value of the property by bringing in new tenants and negotiating higher rents. The centre is home to a number of major international retailers, including H&M and Benetton. It has been acquired by German commercial property manager IFM Immobilien.

Over half of Signature’s portfolio is located in Germany, but the group has recently moved to step up its exposure to the US market. A consortium of Signature investors bought the stock exchange building in the centre of Boston for just under €30 million earlier this year.

Signature was set up in 2004 by McNamara and Woods and is chaired by Ronan McNamee, co-founder of the Cuisine de France baked goods business.