AUSTRIA - Warburg-Henderson, the German business of Henderson Global Investors, is seeking to raise capital from German, Austrian and Swiss institutional investors for its second Austria-focused real estate fund.

Warburg-Henderson Österreich Fonds Nr. 2 is structured as a German spezialfond and follows its predecessor, which was launched in 2002 and currently has approximately €250m invested in the Austrian market.

The first fund achieved a 6% total return per annum and is now in its disinvestment phase, having already sold several office buildings in Vienna.

The new fund aims to achieve higher returns, 7% a year, by investing in core to core-plus retail properties across Austria, as well as office properties specifically in Vienna.

Warburg-Henderson hopes to raise enough capital to have a geared buying power of €300m and plans to acquire 10-15 assets.

German tax-exempt insurance institutions that invest in the fund will benefit from the recent decision by the Independent Fiscal Tribunal in Vienna, which no longer requires them to pay taxes on their income from Austrian and German real estate investments.

Eitel Coridaß, managing director at Warburg-Henderson, said: "The Austrian real estate market is ideally suited for investors who want to diversify away from existing investments in Germany.

"Like Germany, the robust letting market - a result of the strong economy - demonstrates stability. But in addition, the proximity and close links with central Europe offer further growth drivers."

Henderson Global Investors Immobilien Austria (HGI Austria), a joint venture between Henderson Global Investors and Vienna-based insurance institution Wiener Städtische Versicherung, will be responsible for the asset management of the fund.

It currently manages property assets in Austria amounting to around €400m.
Coridaß said: "HGI Austria has already provided an excellent service for the fund's predecessor and was integral to its success.

"The team possesses sound knowledge of local markets and boasts an impressive network, which allows direct access across a broad range of major market players.

"Its expertise stems from its ability to detect suitable opportunities that offer value enhancement or rental potential, and in the implementation of the strategies that follow on from this."