As it became known to RBC Daily, Mukhtar Ablyazov, ex-Chairman of the Board of Directors of BTA Bank, succeeded in selling his flag property development asset, North Domodedovo Logistics Park (Severnoye Domodedovo) with an area of 558,000 sq.m at the end of last year. The asset worth US$ 500 million was acquired by a BIN Group company related to Sait-Salam Gutseriev, and his partner in the deal was Suleyman Kerimov, according to market players. 

Eurasia Logistics controlled by Ablyazov sold North Domodedovo at the end of 2010, a source close to the company told RBC Daily. According to him, the new owner of Russia’s largest logistics park is now a company forming part of the Gutseriev family’s BIN Group. The information is also known to Mikhail Gets, Managing Director of Praedium Oncor International, and senior managers of major investment funds with a focus on warehouse property. 

The sale of North Domodedovo is also known to Alexander Ostapishin, CEO of Investment Trust, and Vladislav Ryabov, Director of Warehouse and Industrial Property Department at Colliers International. A source aware of the deal details claims that the Moscow Region warehouses of Mukhtar Ablyazov were bought by a company owned by Sait-Salam Gutseriev. The source told RBC Daily that the deal also involved Suleyman Kerimov, owner of the Nafta Moscow investment group. 

Eurasia Logistics and Nafta yesterday refused to make a formal comment. Binbank controlled by Mikhail Shishkhanov made no comment on the matter. 

According to Darrel Stanaford, Managing Director of CB Richard Ellis in Russia, North Domodedovo was probably acquired by BIN’s Chayka group that has consolidated one of the biggest portfolios of office property in Moscow. Buying problem assets fits Chayka’s business conduct model, Mr. Stanaford said. 

A senior manager of a foreign consulting company claims that the North Domodedovo sale transaction started as early as in 2009. The negotiations with BIN Group officials were conducted by Mukhtar Ablyazov in London, according to the RBC Daily’s source. He said that a change in the ownership of North Domodedovo was to the interests of the project’s largest lender, Eurohypo AG bank apprehensive of grave risks due to the prosecution of Mukhtar Ablyazov, the founder of the Eurasia investment and industry group. It may be noted that he is charged with embezzlement of US$ 5 billion. 

In the autumn of 2007, Eurohypo AG promised a US$ 747 million loan to Eurasia Logistics for the construction of North Domodedovo, whose area was planned to reach 1.1 million sq.m. The maturity period was to be five years with an option to extend it to ten years. Before the crisis the real estate developer received around US$ 200 million from Eurohypo, according to the RBC Daily’s source. As formally disclosed, the first tranche was US$ 168 million. It was used to complete the construction of North Domodedovo’s Phase 1, with an area of 375,000 sq.m. The park which is today operational has an area of 558,000 sq.m and is nearly 100% leased. 

According to Vladislav Ryabov, North Domodedovo was pledged to Eurohypo. The bank yesterday could not comment on the asset sale.

The sale of North Domodedovo has become the first major transaction involving the sale of Mukhtar Ablyazov’s property development assets. Before the crisis Eurasia’s property development portfolio was in excess of 700,000 sq.m of office and shopping and entertainment space in Moscow, approx. 9 million sq.m of real estate in Domodedovo, Moscow region, and also industrial logistics projects in Russian regions. 

According to the experts consulted, after the Kazakh and Russian authorities made claims against Mr. Ablyazov Eurasia Group offered for sale several assets including a shopping and entertainment centre construction project in Paveletsky Station Square, warehousing areas such as logistics parks Pyshma (195,000 sq.m in the Sverdlovsk Region) and Biek Tau (159,000 sq.m in Tatarstan) already in operation, and the Tolmachyovo industrial complex (806,000 sq.m in the Novosibirsk Region). 

Eurasia Logistics has managed to strike the largest deal in Russia’s post-crisis market of industrial property, according to Alexander Ostapishin. In 2010, practically no investment transactions were undertaken in the warehousing segment, said Vladislav Ryabov. PLP Holding of Germany acquired Redwood East Europe GP Ltd. that owns 194,000 sq.m in Pushkino Logistics Park, and Sberbank bought approx. 53,000 sq.m in the Tomilino Logistics Complex. The amount of the BIN Group’s transaction is estimated by Mikhail Gets at US$ 450. Mr. Ryabov made his calculations based on 900 dollars per sq.m so North Domodedovo may cost over US$ 500 million. 

A source of RBC Daily claims that the new owner does not intend to sell the asset because it bought a leasing business. However, in 1.5 or 2 years BIN Group may make a pretty penny on its first warehousing project. By that time, the value of North Domodedovo will exceed US$ 600-700 million, Mikhail Gets confidently said.