The ailing real estate and trading group Signa has brought the experienced restructuring expert Erhard Grossnigg on board as manager of the most important sub-companies. The Austrian was appointed as an additional member of the boards of Signa Prime Selection AG and Signa Development Selection AG. This was announced by the Signa Group in Vienna, founded by billionaire René Benko. Grossnigg will “implement the next reorganization and restructuring steps for the two real estate companies,” it said. The German renovator Arndt Geiwitz was previously appointed to the Signa Group's advisory board at the beginning of November.
Signa Holding AG filed for bankruptcy last Wednesday. However, the most important properties and construction projects in the Signa portfolio belong to Signa Prime - including the currently standstill Elbtower construction project in Hamburg, the KaDeWe in Berlin and department store properties from the Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof chain.
The group did not comment on the possible insolvency of Signa Prime and Signa Development. “The quality of the Signa Prime portfolio is excellent, the development prospects of the development projects, which are located in the top locations of German-speaking cities, are very good,” said the Austrian former chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer, who serves as chairman of the supervisory boards of both companies.
Losses in the three-digit million range
Signa Prime posted a loss of around one billion euros last year and had around 10.8 billion euros in debt at the end of 2022. Signa Development posted a loss of 316 million euros.
During the low interest rate phase of the past few years, Benko was able to take out cheap loans and attract financially strong investors in order to significantly expand his group. The recent rise in interest rates, construction costs and energy prices have put his complex network of companies in dire straits.