EBRD Board of Directors Approves Financing for Aura Shopping Center in Novosibirsk, Russia

NOVOSIBIRSK, RUSSIA (July 29, 2009) - The EBRD Board of Directors has approved €40 million in debt financing to a joint venture between Amstar Global Property Fund I and Renaissance Development for the construction and operation of a class-A retail and entertainment centre with a gross buildable area of 144,810 square meters and a gross leasable area of 59,479 square meters, located in Novosibirsk, Russia.

The Project, which will include a strong energy efficiency component, will feature: • A quality shopping mall on four above-ground levels including a supermarket, a DIY store, a multiplex cinema, and retail gallery with smaller tenants and catering facilities;
• Two underground levels of parking facilities for 1,528 cars
The transaction will promote the following key areas for transition impact: • Improvement in sector’s business conduct and standards
The Project will introduce to the Russian regional market improved environmental standards, with a special emphasis on energy efficiency measures. The Project utilizes a complex package of the Best Available Techniques in the energy-efficiency area, and will be a model project for architects, designers, engineers and developers in the Novosibirsk region, providing new construction and performance benchmarks for the sector. The Project will also contribute to a more widespread use of international standard construction contracts, including performance bonds, warrants and retentions to reduce the construction risks. • Competition, change in market structure and market expansion
Due to the on-going financial crisis, most of the announced shopping centre projects have been put on hold as funding is currently very scarce. Considering the existing and planned retail schemes to be completed by 2011, the city still has lower retail space provision than other Russian cities with over one million inhabitants. Due to its scale and location, the Project has the potential to establish itself as one of the prime shopping centres in the area, ultimately increasing competition and reducing the cost of goods and services to domestic consumers. • Positive demonstration effects: ways to finance activities
The potential for syndication of real estate transactions in Russia is currently very low. Commercial banks are facing liquidity constraints and are especially reluctant to take the construction risk. Due to the good location of the Project, very experienced Sponsor/Developer and a conservative financing structure, the Bank is likely to syndicate part of the loan, which would have a positive demonstration effect with regard to the return of commercial banks to the property market.