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Czech Billionaire Looking to Buy More Property

By Allison HallidayJune 06, 2011
  • The Czech billionaire Radovan Vitek was the biggest purchaser of retail and office buildings in the Czech Republic during 2010, but now his investment company is thinking of increasing its assets.

    Czech billionaire Radovan Vitek. Courtesy of Blesk

    Vitek’s company, Czech Property Investments (CPI) bought properties worth $580 million in 2010, which was about 45% of the value of all property transactions in the country.

    Purchases included properties occupied by Nestlé SA and Siemens AG. ApparentlyVitek viewed 2010 as being a great time to purchase property, due to the fact that some people were selling property for no real reason.

    As the Czech economy improves it is encouraging foreign investors to return to the market, including European Property Investors Special Opportunities LP and CA Immobilien Anlagen AG. Acquisitions worth $794 million were completed during the first quarter of this year, a sevenfold increase on figures a year earlier.

    Vitek intends to invest a further $1.8 billion in property over the next five years so long as prices don't increase too substantially. His current assets are already worth this amount.

    The Dancing House in Prague - One of the more novel examples of bargain-priced Czech real estate. Courtesy of NY Times

    Radovan Vitek started out by importing blankets from Germany soon after the collapse of communism 1989 while still an economics student. He initially set up a fund called Investicini Privatizacni Fond Boleslavsko AS in 1991 before renaming it CPI in 1998 when the focus changed to real estate. At the end of 2010 CPI owned investment valued at 39.7 billion koruna, and it owns 12,600 apartments, making it the second largest provider of rental property in the Czech Republic.

    DTZ estimates that CPI and other investors could spend a total of €1.25 billion on Czech property in 2011, up from €700 million in 2010.

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