Immofinanz unit takes step towards IPO with Berlin flats deal

VIENNA, April 22 Mon Apr 22, 2013 6:52am EDT

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VIENNA, April 22 (Reuters) - Austrian property group Immofinanz's Buwog unit bought a portfolio of 1,916 apartments in Berlin's Neukoelln district, another step in plans for a stock market flotation of the unit.

It gave no price for the purchase from Capricornus, the German real estate subsidiary of the Eureal group, which will double the number of homes it owns in the German capital. The deal still requires anti-trust approval.

"This is the first of several planned acquisitions in Germany," Buwog managing director Alexander Hoff said in a statement on Monday.

Buwog Chairman Daniel Riedl noted that the group had set a minimum of 10,000 units in Germany as a condition for an initial public offering of Buwog.

Immofinanz may completely exit Buwog after the planned listing of a majority of the residential unit as early as this year.

It plans initially to sell shares in just over half of Buwog for between 700 million euros ($915.7 million) and 750 million.

Buwog said this month it was selling 781 apartments in the Austrian province of Carinthia as it shifts more of its focus to Germany. "Sales in the other Austrian provinces are expected over the coming quarters," it said on Monday. ($1 = 0.7644 euros) (Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by David Holmes)

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