The transaction, which was concluded on 13 December, saw WING Group become the majority owner of leading Polish real estate developer Echo Investment, a company traded on the Warsaw Stock Exchange.
This acquisition makes WING a major real estate firm at the regional level. Supporting Echo Investment’s long-term growth program, WING enters as a strategic investor; at the operational level, the two companies will continue to operate independently.
With the payment transferred on 13 December, WING has acquired a 100% stake in Lisala, which in turn owns a 56 % stake in ECHO Investment, a company listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange (WSE). Echo Investment is the largest Polish property development company and the only one with extensive experience across the entire range of residential, retail and office segments. Already the market leader in Poland in both the office and retail segments, the company has been strengthening its residential property market portfolio as well.
With the transaction complete, WING Group has become a majority owner of Echo Investment. This makes WING a major property developer in the entire region.
“WING, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, is Hungary’s leading property company. Building on its success in the Hungarian real estate market, it has identified international expansion as its next strategic goal. With this transaction, we can now state that we have taken a major step forward in this direction. We are now a group that is significant at the regional level”, WING Chairman and CEO Noah Steinberg stated. He explained that the first phase of international expansion was mapping out regional markets, where based on property development opportunities and the features of the investment market, the Polish property market proved to be the most attractive investment target. The company next sought out a strategic investment opportunity that would not only provide stable and profitable operation, but long-term growth potential. Echo Investment SA met these criteria decisively.
“Echo shares WING’s values of great performance, integrity and professionalism, which are the foundations for both companies. By combining the Polish company’s achievements and WING’s unique professional expertise and leading position in the Hungarian market, our objective was to become a major player at the regional level,”Noah Steinberg explained. He added that WING enters the transaction as a strategic investor supporting Echo Investment’s long-term growth program; however, operationally the two companies will continue to remain independent.
The tight-knit relationship with WING might also open the door to new opportunities for Echo Investment. "During the last 4 years, the company has transformed from being a developer that keeps parts of the completed assets to a pure, dividend-generating developer, in line with the strategy of the profitable growth. We have become the market leader in office and retail real estate sectors in Poland and we are on a good way to achieve such a position with residential part of our business. We have interesting years ahead of us, transforming parts of the cities around Poland by developing our mixed-use projects, benefiting from all the competences and experience inside the company" , said Nicklas Lindberg, CEO of Echo Investment.
Wing cooperated closely with Griffin Real Estate in the course of transaction. Griffin Real Estate is the largest and most active investment manager in private equity real estate in CEE. In the coming months, a co-investment from Griffin Real Estate is anticipated.