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Real estate company Gazit Globe, on Monday, announced a NIS 7 billion investment plan to expand its European operations and widen its reach into Asia over the coming two years.
In Europe, the expansion would remain within the areas of its expertise, including shopping centers, protected tenancy housing, and medical office buildings. Projects will either be bought or initiated and built from scratch, by Gazit or in partnerships. A move into Asia, would mark new territory for the company.
"Today we have the expertise and the necessary business platform to expand our operations to additional locations in Europe and enter the market in Asia," said Dori Segal, the company's CEO.
The investment is in addition to last year's announced plans to invest NIS 1.4b. in commercial centers in the US.
"Our new investments in Europe would not be at the expense of our investments in North America," Segal said.
The investment plan would be financed by current resources and fundraising initiatives. In the first six months of 2005, the company and its subsidiaries raised about NIS 227 million in public stock sales. In October, the group completed a NIS 386m. fundraising initiative to furtherits expansion plans.
Segal added that Gazit Globe might decide to raise more money from investors, if needed, to advance the acquisitions policy.
In Canada, Gazit Globe operates via First Capital Realty, listed in Toronto, while in the US, it operates via NYSE-listed Equity One. Its European investments are handled through Helsinki-listed Citycon.
Separately, Anglo-Saxon Real Estate, the country's largest real estate broker announced plans to set up overseas offices in the UK and France, in addition to its first overseas office in New York, launched two months ago.
Anglo-Saxon, a subsidiary of holding company Africa-Israel and insurance company Migdal, set up the NYC office with real estate concern Manhattan Connection in an effort to provide services for US investors interested in purchasing property in Israel and vice versa.
"We expect a continued increase in the wave of foreign interest in buying property in Israel. Over the past six months, 20 percent of our buyers were foreigners, of which the majority were from the US, followed by the UK and France," said Zvia Leviev Eliazrov, chairman of Anglo-Saxon.
The Manhattan office will be managed by Ronen Korin, the owner of Manhattan Connection.
"Geopolitical changes in the world, the improvement of Israel's economic situation, the strength of the dollar and US property prices have all contributed to the reassessment of foreign investors to buy residential property in Israel," said Hanan Schlesinger, CEO of Anglo-Saxon.
Schlesinger added that Anglo-Saxon was in talks to set up offices in London and France.