At a press conference held on the 30th of July, a syndicated loan agreement was signed to finance the construction of a new shopping center development by Balfin Group, known as East Gate Mall in Skopje.
It is a total investment of about 103 million EUR, and most of the funds for its realization will be provided through a syndicated loan from domestic and internationally renowned banking groups. The total amount of the syndicated loan is equal to 72 million EUR.
The leading bank of the syndicated loan is NLB Banka AD Skopje, and the other participating banks are: NLB dd Ljubljana, Komercijalna Banka AD Skopje, Raiffeisen Bank Albania and Halk Banka AD Skopje.
This syndicated loan will enable the construction of one of the most modern shopping centers in the Balkan region.
SKOPJE EAST GATE
East Gate Mall is part of a modern and contemporary multipurpose complex Skopje East Gate (SEG), which in addition to a shopping center, will contain business and residential buildings.
Spreading over 15 hectares of land, with a total gross built-up area of over 500,000 sqm, SEG is the largest multi-purpose real estate project in the country and an investment of about 350 million EUR.
Behind this project stands Balfin Group, which is one of the most significant and successful investment groups in the Western Balkan region.
The complex will be a modern urban and architectural symbol of Skopje, introducing new and modern standards of urban living, working, and shopping.
EAST GATE MALL
The shopping center will cover a total rental area of about 57,000 sqm and will have 250 retail units.
According to the planned dynamics, the shopping center should be open for the autumn/winter 2021 season.
This investment will completely transform the Macedonian retail market, as the shopping center will bring over 20 newcomer fashion brands to Skopje, on a retail area of over 20,000 sqm, which is approximately 40% of the total retail area of the mall. The international brands will maintain their formats and sizes that are seen within their stores across major world capitals, bringing a high-class experience to its future visitors from Skopje.
The management of the mall has already signed commercial terms and lease agreements with over 150 retailers, so by today, more than a year before the opening of the mall, over 80% of the mall is pre-leased with confirmed commercial terms.
PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
Mrs. Edlira Muka, Bafin Group CEO, stated:
“The agreement is another step towards the realization of Balfin Group’s vision to offer Skopje and Northern Macedonia a space where a shopping center interlaces with a business and residential complex. All three of these components will provide the highest standards for shopping, business development, and living. Balfin Group is present in most countries of the Western Balkans and in some European Union countries, employing more than 6,000 people. From our experience and in our view, the region should be considered as a unified economic zone without barriers for business development.”
Antonio Argir, Chairman of the Board of NLB Banka AD Skopje, stated:
“Leading this project and establishing this union was a huge challenge for us. Defining the financial structure was an extremely complex process, where we have created a model of harmonized syndicated financing. With the leadership of this union, NLB Bank proves that it has the capacity to lead and coordinate important domestic and international banking groups and manage complex financial models. As a systemically important bank in Northern Macedonia, we have a focus and commitment to support the financing and implementation of projects with a vision. We have shown that we are a bank that, even in a crisis situation, manages to support its customers for the growth and development of their businesses. This is why we have a positive effect on the Macedonian economy as a whole.”
Mr. Igor Davkov, CEO of East Gate Mall, stated:
“After two hard years of elaborate working with the team of NLB Banka AD Skopje, we are signing the largest bank loan for financing a private real estate project in Macedonian history. With the signing of this agreement, Skopje East Gate closes the financial construction of the investment in the shopping center, in the amount of over 103 million EUR, which financially completes the first phase of the entire project. NLB has the largest share in the syndicated loan, amounting to 53%. Despite the challenges that were brought by the COVID 19 crisis, so far over 36 million EUR has been invested in the entire project, of which over 90%, or 32 million EUR, has been invested in East Gate Mall.