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Merger to create new Swiss property giant

Feldschlösschen-Hürlimann headquarters: the merger will create a new propery giant worth $1 billion Keystone

A property firm worth more than $1 billion is to be created from the merger of Feldschlösschen-Hürlimann Holding and Swiss Prime Site, the companies said in a statement issued on Monday.

In a joint statement, the companies said the merged enterprise would have a real estate portfolio of about SFr1.8 billion ($1.08 billion) and a market capitalisation of about the same amount.

They said no more details would be released until early April.

Feldschlösschen-Hürlimann is in the process of changing the focus of its activities. It sold its beverages division to Carlsberg for SFr870 million in July and is to become the REG Real Estate Group.

Swiss Prime Site was set up in May 1999 and was listed on the Swiss Exchange in April last year. The Credit Suisse Group is the main shareholder.

“The two companies are a natural fit,” says Zurich Kantonal Bank analyst, Armin Rechberger. “Feldschlösschen-Hürlimann owns many former breweries that are in prime sites such as Wädenswil and that can be turned into offices and flats. And Swiss Prime Site also has valuable real estate in Zurich.”

Rechberger says the merger should draw in more international investment that could fund future development projects.

The demand for real estate in most areas of the country has never been greater and property prices are going through the roof.

“Take Zurich for example,” says business journalist, Markus Gisler. “The price per square metre of office space in the city centre has gone up to SFr800, about double the price that was paid three years ago.”

Gisler says the timing of the announcement comes at an opportune time as old-fashioned bricks and mortar firms have come back into fashion as investment options.

“Investors are running scared of new economy stocks and putting their money into the old economy and that means real estate, too.”

The two companies say they hope the merger will be completed in the next few months. Stefan Maechler, chairman of Swiss Prime Site, will head the board of the combined group.

swissinfo with agencies

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