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EBRD invests €24.7 million in first MAS Securities’ real estate green bond

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has successfully subscribed to a €24.7 million ticket as part of an inaugural five-year €300 million green bond issuance by MAS Securities BV.

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The firm is wholly owned by MAS Real Estate Inc., an investor and operator of predominantly retail real-estate assets that focuses on central and eastern Europe (CEE).

The Bank’s investment will support the acquisition of green properties and the development of green and sustainable retail and residential assets, predominantly in Romania and potentially in the wider CEE region.

The bond issue, used to finance and refinance green commercial real estate in CEE, is underpinned by a green financing framework aligned with the International Capital Market Association’s Green Bond Principles and the Loan Market Association’s Green Loan Principles. Sustainalytics provided an independent second-party opinion on the framework’s environmental credentials and its alignment with the current market standards for green bonds.

MAS Real Estate has pledged to achieve green building certification – at a minimum, the BREEAM ‘Very Good’, LEED ‘Gold’ or acceptable equivalent – for all CEE investment property acquired or developed in future and for at least 90 per cent of its existing investment properties in the region.

The company will also align its annual reporting with the Global Reporting Initiative Standards and simplify and streamline the group’s corporate legal structure as part of its redomiciliation to Malta.

MAS Real Estate Inc. is listed on the main board of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. At the end of 2020, the group had total assets of €1.2 billion, including exposure to 55 income-producing properties, either held directly or through its joint venture with Prime Kapital, with 654,400 m2 of gross leasable area, generating €67.9 million of annualised total revenue. Its current CEE portfolio is concentrated in Romania but the group also has two shopping malls in Bulgaria and one in Poland.

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Vlaho Kojakovic, EBRD Director, Property and Tourism, said: “In the EU27 region, buildings account for 40 per cent of total energy consumption and 36 per cent of CO2 emissions. In central and eastern Europe, this problem is even more acute, with the real estate sector potentially accounting for up to 50 per cent of a country’s total energy consumption. Therefore, the EBRD is delighted to support the debut green bond of MAS Real Estate, a company committed to investing in high-quality green buildings in line with the objectives of the EBRD’s Property and Tourism Sector Strategy 2020-24 and the Bank’s Green Economy Transition approach.”

“As a management team, we always have sustainability at the forefront of our thinking. Our assets are managed with a ‘long-term-hold’ mindset and therefore it makes economic sense to think of our investments in a sustainable manner,” commented Martin Slabbert, CEO of MAS Real Estate.

The EBRD is a leading institutional investor in Romania and has invested almost €9 billion in the country to date, with 76 per cent of that in the private sector.

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