US-based realtor has Balkan plans

SOFIA (SeeNews) – A new US-based real estate development company, set up with a 150-million-euro ($179.4 million) capital investment, targets investments in Bulgaria, Serbia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), a co-owner of the company said yesterday. «This is a real estate development company with 50-million-euro equity capital and 100-million-euro debt capital,» Christos Mouroutis, owner of the Bulgarian-registered financial and investment group EuroCapital, told SeeNews. The equity capital has been secured solely by US institutional investors and the capital raising for the fund has been completed, Mouroutis said but declined to disclose details. «Around 70 percent of the investment will be headed toward Bulgaria and the remainder will be for neighboring Serbia and (FYROM)… we have ready projects for Bulgaria and Serbia,» said Mouroutis, who will be president and CEO of the new company. The company will be co-owned by New York-based investment banking company First Wall Street Capital Corporation, he added. «This will be the second US investor in real estate development in Bulgaria, along with (US-based real estate operator) Tishman (International Companies),» said Mouroutis. The company will be headquartered in New York and will be co-managed by First Wall Street Capital Corporation, EuroCapital and its subsidiary BITEX. EuroCapital, set up by Greek citizen Mouroutis, said last year it would raise the capital of its recent Bulgarian acquisition, BITEX, by 14.5 million levs ($8.8 million/7.4 million euros) to 17.4 million levs and that most of the funds from the increase would be invested in the real estate sector. The information technology market in Bulgaria had already become very saturated, while the real estate market offered brighter prospects, BITEX investor relations manager Dimitrina Tsankova told SeeNews last year. The Bulgarian real estate market has grown rapidly over the past few years and is expected to grow further in the runup to the country’s membership in the European Union pinned on 2007.