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Ceremony Marks The Sale Of The First Shopping Mall In Bulgaria

The sale of the first shopping mall in Bulgaria, Sofia City Center, will be officially sealed with a ceremony on December 9 2008, one month after it was first announced.The deal will see Equest Balkan Properties selling the mall to the international investment fund Heitman European Property Partners III for 101.5 million euro, which is one of the largest property deals in Bulgaria this year.Equest Balkan Properties bought the mall two years ago for 94 million euro. Their profit on the sale will be a meagre 7.5 million euro, an indicator of the decline of the Bulgarian property market.Equest was in negotiations with another buyer, the largest investment fund in Germany - DEGI (Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Immobilienfonds) but in the end decided to accept the offer from Heitman European Property Partners III.DEGI, however, has already filed an application for approval with the Bulgarian Commission for the Protection of Competition for a deal that will allow it to buy the second shopping mall in the country, Mall of Sofia. DEGI wishes to acquire 100 per cent of M.O. Sofia, the current legal steward of the retail and office complex.So far there is no mention anywhere in the paperwork of the negotiated price, and, following an inquiry undertaken by Bulgarian-language Kapital weekly, both parties involved declined comment."It contravenes our practice to discuss deals that have not yet been completed. That is why we ask for your understanding. Information will be released as soon as the deal is finalised," Dietmar Muller, DEGI's spokesperson, told Kapital. But sources close to the newspaper have indicated that the negotiation takes into account about 127.5 million euro; the property has brought a return of nine million euro for 2007.