VIENNA Aug 4 Austrian property group Immofinanz
has not given up on Russia - its single biggest market
- despite Moscow's role in the Ukrainian political crisis that
has triggered European sanctions, Chief Executive Eduard
The European Union and the United States announced further
sanctions against Russia last week that targeted its energy,
banking and defence sectors in the strongest international
action yet over Moscow's support for rebels in eastern Ukraine.
"We plan further investments in Russia, which means in
Moscow and its environs," he told reporters on Monday after his
company released full-year results on Friday and said it could
not yet gauge the impact of the crisis.
"We take two or three looks at every investment there but
you cannot change your strategy every day due to short-term
effects," he said, although he left open when Immofinanz might
proceed with its plans.
Russia accounts for nearly a quarter of its portfolio across
central and eastern Europe. It depends on six shopping centres
in the Moscow region for around a third of its rental income,
following the spin-off of Buwog, its German and Austrian
residential property unit, at the end of April.
Zehetner said Immofinanz would focus on developing retail
and logistics properties for the Moscow area, which has 200
cities of between 50,000 and 200,000 residents but lacked retail
The region would benefit from new ring roads to divert
traffic from the city centre, he added.
Rents in Russia were double what prevailed elsewhere in the
region, he said, but he acknowledged it was harder to implement
projects in Russia when the economy was headed towards
stagnation or recession instead of growth.
Sanctions against Russia affected Immofinanz indirectly by
clouding consumer and investor sentiment, he said.
(Reporting by Michael Shields and Angelika Gruber; editing by
Shadia Nasralla and Tom Pfeiffer)