CITIC and Sonae Sierra invest in shopping centres in China

5 May 2014

Portuguese group Sonae has set up a partnership with Chinese group CITIC for joint investments in shopping centres in China, said Fernando Guedes de Oliveira, the chairman of Sonae Sierra, the group’s real estate arm.

After opening an office in China in 2013, followed by a year of negotiations, Sonae Sierra signed services contracts with the CITIC group for three shopping centres – one in operation and two at the design stage – launching the partnership between the two groups.

The Portuguese group, which is present in 12 countries and has an important operation in Brazil, has experience and knowledge that it now plans to apply in the Chinese market, which is considered to have huge potential growth for shopping centres.

“China is, like an high growth market, a competitive market (…) We are sure that there is potential for providing quality shopping centre management and commercial services in this market,” the chairman of Sonae Sierra told Portuguese financial daily Diário Económico.

Guedes de Oliveira also said that at the end of 2013, “both the groups were convinced of the added value of joining forces in a company with capacity to manage and sell shopping centres in China in line with international standards.”

Sonae Sierra directly controls 47 retail shopping centres and manages or sells space in 85 shopping centres in Europe, Africa and Asia.

In China, which is the world’s second-largest retail market with sales of 2.4 billion euros, the target market focuses on 25 to 35 percent of the population, or 350 million to 500 million people.

The new company will have its headquarters in Shanghai, with a team of 20 people, four of which will be Portuguese, specialising in marketing, sale and management of shopping centres, and which is currently working on selecting a brand for the partnership, which is expected to be announced in June.

In Portugal, the Sonae group owns the country’s main chain of hypermarkets – Continente – which is soon expected to expand into Angola via a partnership with the owner of Angola’s largest business fortune, Isabel dos Santos, including four hypermarkets and a logistics centre in Luanda. (macauhub/PT/CN)