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Asset Yield: European Real Estate Event

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CEE Legal Matters is excited to attend the first in its series of Asset Yield panel discussions, hosted by Richards Kibbe & Orbe in London this Thursday. In preparation for the event, we sat down with one of the guest panelists at the event, Pawel Halwa, the Managing Partner of the Schoenherr Warsaw office.

Pawel Halwa, Managing Partner - Warsaw, Schoenherr

 CEELM: Why do you believe the topic to be covered at the London event is particularly interesting these days?

P.H.: This is a timely event because Real Estate as a sector has been developing in an interesting manner across these jurisdictions and it is interesting to see the various approaches in different markets. Spain is looked at these days because of a growing interest in its distressed assets. In contrast, Poland and Hungary are less so as they tend to still be perceived as emerging markets. Even between the two, it is interesting to see that a while ago, Hungary was slightly more attractive towards investors, these days, Poland seems to have gained an edge – probably because of it size and growing demographics in Warsaw and its very stable economy and Government, as well as the fact that it is still considered an untapped market that hasn't yet gone through a thorough restructuring process. 

What makes this event stand out is that it is vertically and horizontally integrated. Vertically up and down the real estate investment experience with banks, advisors, financiers, and lawyers – and horizontally across a real or perceived geographical risk gradient.

From a personal standpoint, as a lawyer working in a firm present in both of these CEE markets, I look forward to hearing investors' thoughts on what drives investments into a market, especially in light of the fact that a lot of potential investors are based in London and are increasingly turning their attention to CEE jurisdictions. 

 CEELM: Can you give us a bit of insight as to the main points you expect will be covered at the event?

P.H.: I expect a considerable part of the conversation to be spent on economic and legal background in investing in Real Estate – looking both at prime and restructuring/underperforming assets. The “usual suspects” in terms of typical questions revolving around Real Estate deals will probably be looked at: how to structure a deal, how to set up the collateral, etc. At the same time, I expect quite a bit of discussion to revolve around banks – both as financers of investments as well as asset holders, with the question mark of whether it is likely to expect any such assets to be sold in the foreseeable future in any of these markets. 

I also expect a lot of comparison between the markets, especially between Spain and Hungary/Poland in terms of supply and legal structures for deals – the “certainty of deals” so to say. I am also keen to hear people's perspectives as to what types of assets are most appealing these days such as, for example, whether the highest interest these days is in purchasing commercial real estate asset within or outside a capital city and what drives that choice.  

 CEELM: Spain, Poland, Hungary -- why these particular three markets?

P.H.: Well, Spain is a market that has been hugely popular. These days, it has recently gone through a lot of restructuring, which again attracted the attention of potential investors. Hungary is a considerably smaller CEE jurisdiction with a set up in terms of market as well economic and political structure different than my home jurisdiction – which I believe warrants analysis. Poland is a natural market to look at because it is one of the bigger markets in the region and one that is perceived to be among the most – or maybe it is the most – stable in CEE at the moment. I think the choice of the three will lead to a very interesting discussion in terms of how the different set-ups play out at the moment. I also think it will be fascinating to see what particular aspects from these set-ups will drive deals from an investors' perspective and what their views are on the various levels of risk and expected return. 

 CEELM: What aspects are you keen to learn about/get views on from the other panelists the most?

P.H.: I was excited to see a good mix of advisors and investors and I look forward primarily to hearing their views on these markets as a whole at the moment and their prognosis for the foreseeable future. I am naturally most interested in hearing these views for the Polish market but, at the end of the day, markets will compete for deals between each other as a whole as well so it will be interesting to hear where Poland stands relative to other markets at the moment. 

There are naturally some particular bits and pieces that will be very interesting but I think the general set-up is the main critical point and it is probably best not to take away all the fun for those who will attend the event. 

Click here to learn more about the Asset Yield: European Real Estate event.   

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