Real estate investor René Benko is the founder of the Signa Group. picture alliance / SZ Photo | Robert Haas
The Signa Group and with it the billion-dollar empire of the Austrian investor René Benko are in trouble.
The real estate sector is particularly affected: construction sites come to a standstill and orders are canceled.
We have listed why this is the case, which construction projects and properties belong to Signa and what the latest developments are.
The billion-dollar empire of the Austrian real estate investor and founder of the Signa Group René Benko is faltering. There are new negative headlines every day: subsidiaries go bankrupt, banks stop giving loans, investors distance themselves. Business Insider reported.
Signa Holding’s real estate division in particular is in serious difficulties: construction sites are at a standstill and orders are being canceled. We have listed why this is the case, which properties and construction projects belong to Signa and what the latest developments are.
Why are real estate affected so badly?
The reason for the problems in the real estate business: interest rates on loans are rising, but real estate prices are falling. This leads to large mathematical and real losses and raising money is expensive. In addition, Benko investors are jumping ship.
The Signa real estate empire
SIGNA Prime Selection AG is the largest company in the real estate division of the Signa Group. It’s about “fillet real estate” in city centers: According to the website, the value is 20.4 billion euros. This includes, for example, the Vienna luxury district “Goldenes Quartier”. Signa also focuses on project development, US real estate (such as the famous Chrysler Building in New York’s Manhattan district) and luxury hotels.
The Kaufhaus des Westens in Berlin is part of Benko’s real estate empire. In March it was announced that he was selling half of his Kadewe property to a Thai company.
The Karstadt building complex on Herrmannplatz, the P1 and the Upper West, one of the tallest buildings in Berlin, also belong to Signa.
Commerz Real recently announced a large project development contract to Signa Real Estate for high-rise work on Berlin’s Alexanderplatz.
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The view of the Elbtower construction site. picture alliance/dpa | Markus Scholz
It recently became known that the construction of the Hamburg Elbtower in Hafencity – which was initiated by Olaf Scholz (SPD) in 2018 – was stopped due to outstanding payments. The Signa Group is behind the prestigious project, which costs a total of around one billion euros.
The tower, designed by star architect David Chapperfield, will be the third tallest building in Germany, reports the “RND”. The tallest buildings are the Commerzbank Tower and the Messeturm in Frankfurt am Main. The Elbtower is supposed to be 245 meters high, 100 meters are already there.
The properties in Hamburg also include the Kaufmannshaus, the Alsterhaus and the Alsterarkaden.
There are also problems in Düsseldorf and Stuttgart
By the end of 2024, the traditional department store Carsch-Haus in Düsseldorf is to be converted into a luxury department store of the KaDeWe Group for an estimated 55 million euros – now there is silence there too. There are said to be outstanding bills amounting to millions, reports “Rheinische Post”.
The construction of the sports arena area in Stuttgart is said to be loud “Handelsblatt” also been interrupted. 2,300 square meters of retail space and 5,000 square meters of office space are to be built on Königstrasse. The “Stuttgarter Zeitung” Signa announced that the project was continuing.
The Oberpollinger department store in Munich. Tomas Sereda/Getty Images
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Signa owns some top real estate in downtown Munich. In 2011, the company acquired the Oberpollinger luxury department store. The Old Academy, which is currently being renovated, is also part of Signa’s portfolio. According to the responsible construction company, there is no construction stop “Handelsblatt”.
The Hermann Tietz House at the main train station and the former “Kaut-Bullinger House” on Rosenstrasse also belong to the group, said „T-Online“.
Signa is currently working on the “Corbinian” district in Munich: 40,000 square meters of office space is planned and Benko is open to purchase offers, reports “The standard”.
The responsible construction company told Dem that everything was going as planned for an office and commercial building with 10,000 square meters of space in Frankfurt am Main “Handelsblatt”.
You probably don’t have to worry about the new buildings that have started. The “Daily News” reports that experienced entrepreneurs and consultants and leading banks and insurance companies are optimistic that they will be completed by others if necessary.
According to research by Business Insider, the billionaire’s hopes now rest on Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund
Signa loans on “default”: Benko quake shakes Swiss private bank Julius Baer, which is said to have loaned the “Wunderwuzzi” around 600 million euros