Piraeus Bank announced today financing a property deal by property investment companies Henderson Park and Hines to buy five hotels on Crete. The details of the deal are largely undisclosed.
Greece’s largest lender, Piraeus Bank says the deal is a sign of its commitment to the tourism industry despite the constraints in place because of the pandemic.
According to the announcement, the hotels include the Hermes and Coral hotels in Agios Nikolaos, the Santa Marina Resort, and Apollonia Resort in Heraklion and the Sitia Beach Resort. Eleni Vrettou, Executive General Manager of corporate and investment banking at Piraeus Bank offered this:
“This is yet another key transaction executed during the COVID-19 period demonstrating our long term commitment to the hospitality sector in Greece despite the current challenges caused by the pandemic.”
The two firms also said that they had been able to “provide a solution to a distressed situation”, in the wake of the Greek government opening the country up to tourists. Nick Weber, Founding Partner of Henderson Park offers this via the press release:
“While the leisure industry has no doubt been temporarily impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, we are firm believers that the industry will bounce back. With this transaction, we have been able to provide a solution to a distressed situation and gain control of a number of high quality, high-potential assets in a globally leading tourist destination at an attractive entry basis. Government plans to begin reopening Greece are reaffirming our overall investment thesis, and we have strong conviction in the significant repositioning opportunities that have been identified to enhance longer term value.”
Piraeus Bank is 26%-owned by the country’s HFSF bank rescue fund. Whereas, Henderson Park is a European real estate asset management platform founded by former Goldman Sachs wiz-kid Nick Weber, that is focused on acquiring and repositioning real estate assets. As for Hines, the privately owned global real estate development and asset management firm founded by Houston billionaire Gerald D. Hines is present in 24 countries, including Greece.
Paul Gomopoulos, Senior Managing Director and country head for Greece at Hines added this:
“While the headwinds from the global pandemic will clearly have a material impact on the leisure and hospitality sectors, we have confidence in the mid- to long-term prospects and as such, are committed to pursuing further opportunities in this market. We are looking forward to continuing our successful partnership with Henderson Park, which offers a very effective combination of international expertise and local knowledge.”
Only yesterday I had quipped that TUI and other major investors would start snapping up the paper on distressed or bankrupt Crete hotels, and today we learn of deals that have been in the works since the coronavirus pandemic onset, or before. Unless I miss my guess, we can expect a veritable feeding frenzy by capital investment funds looking for the mid to long-term win at Greek hoteliers’ expense.