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Carrefours Bulgarian Mall Sale Close To End

Marinopoulos, the Greek partner of the French group Carrefour, has reached an agreement with a buyer for Carrefour mall in Sofia, Pari daily reported on March 13. Marinopoulos holds the rights to develop Carrefour's retail chain in Bulgaria.

The new owner is likely to be a large Greek company planning large-scale real estate investments in Bulgaria, Pari said.

Carrefour mall, occupying a terrain of 54 000 sq m on Tsarigradsko Chausse Blvd., is still in the construction stage and is a part of a biggest project called Hermes Park. Hermes Park is being developed by Carrefour Bulgaria and European Trade Centre, which co-own the land and the building rights.

Hermes Park comprises a trade centre with a gross actual area of 240 000 sq m, 14 000 of which will be allocated to the mall.There will be office buildings adjacent to the establishment. The overall investment is estimated at 200 million euro. This is the largest mall project currently being developed on the Balkans and is due to open in mid-2009.

The project's sale is a logical move, given the chain's common practise to develop leased areas and not to take risks with own construction, Pari daily said.

Negotiations for the sale of Carrefour mall have been going on for more than a year now. Several companies, including Israeli AFI Europe and a fund, run by the Australian Macquarie bank, have been reported as possible buyers.

Carrefour Bulgaria's representatives were not available for comment, while Anastasia Bonou from Marinopoulos, contacted by The Sofia Echo, said she was not authorised to comment the possible deal.