REAL ESTATE - The robust trade in Eastern European real estate has continued with acquisitions for GE Real Estate and divestments for IVG.

GE expanded its Slovakian retail portfolio with the acquisition of three “Max” shopping centres in Trnava, Poprad and Trencin. It purchased the Trnava centre, completed in 2004, for €14.2m.

The company did not disclose how much it had paid for the other two properties. Nor would GE identify the expected yield for the three properties. However, a spokeswoman for the firm said it would be looking at other retail opportunities in the region.

IVG Immobilien has denied that it is downgrading its investments in the Hungarian market after it sold a package of five Budapest office properties to HGA Capital for €99.8m. The package, with a combined size of 38,000 square metres, comprises three modern office blocks and two listed buildings.

IVG said it had sold the properties to boost its figures amid declining yields. “We came to Budapest early, in 1998, and we’ve seen yields drop from 12—13% to 7%,” said spokesman Thomas Rücker. “It’s a good time to sell and earn some money.”

But he denied that IVG had lost interest in Hungary, pointing out that it is in the process of developing two other properties in the capital.

He said: “We’re always doing due diligence on opportunities as they come to the Hungarian market, as we do in the rest of Europe, but we have no immediate acquisition targets.”

Open-ended fund DIFA-Grund meanwhile announced that it had taken over the Trianon office development in Prague after it acquired the previous owner. The property cost €47m and is due for completion in the fourth quarter of next year. DIFA also acquired its first shopping centre in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, for €130m.

DIFA has so far avoided the runs seen on other open-ended German funds, notably Deutsche’s.

Spokesman Fabian Hellbusch said it had retained investor confidence by avoiding the problematic German real estate market and investing instead in the UK, France and Belgium.

“The funds with problems have a bigger share in the German market and more problems with liquidity,” he said. “We have €1.3bn of liquidity and we’re clearly positioned as a European – rather than a German – fund.” He said DIFA was also looking to increase its invest in Asia and Mexico.