Sunday, August 17, 2014

René Benko: a convicted climber wants to save Karstadt – THE WORLD

René Benko: a convicted climber wants to save Karstadt – THE WORLD

So now Benko, René, the legendary self-made millionaire or -Milliardär from Tyrol. Can he save Karstadt? Does he want it? Anyway, he will want to save the Karstadt real estate, because that’s their core business. And for that he needs, at least by sight, life and trade in the 83 department stores. This can be with Karstadt, because when it comes back on its feet, or another tenant. One thing is certain: From the 37-year-old investor from Austria now depends the weal and woe of dozens of German inner cities from

Benko has his money – lots of money – with real estate. made, since he has broken with the 17 commercial high school. The basis of his prized 850 million euro assets put the offspring of a local authority officers and a kindergarten teacher with entrepreneurial verve: Against the assurance install elevators in Vienna tenements, he became neglected attics cheap, they built and sold it expensive – now they were indeed . accessible by lift

The business is “like professional sports,” Benko described his approach once: “It is not only talent, but also the consequence to work hard, do not give up, not to leave the path and to get more exercise and to be made, as it others want to do. “

capital comes from transactions with gas stations and ships

but to break more was needed: personal relationships with donors. They form the most important asset in the meantime extended Benko network he controlled via the Signa Holding. The special talent runs like a thread through Benkos biography.

The first was the gas station heritage Karl Kovaric, the business with the fate of the small contractor the attics noticed. In 2001, he put 26 million euros in joint property transactions. The most important partner Benkos later became the Greek shipping magnate George Economou, still the part just under half of the shares in the holding company Signa Holding, that investment vehicles, which now also Karstadt heard.

skeptics point to the lack of transparency of companies Benkos Empire. Although the company boasts numerous flagship property “in the best downtown locations in Europe”. The Nike headquarters in Frankfurt and the department store Sevens in Dusseldorf belong to baroque and modern gems in the center of Vienna, objects in Bolzano, Innsbruck, Prague and elsewhere. The total value estimated Signa to more than six billion euros.

How stable is the holding company?

As it looks with the financial stability of the structure, however, known only to insiders. As Benko years ago vented his plan, Karstadt and Kaufhof to merge into a “German department store AG” failed the project “on the shaky financing,” such as a report, the close to the negotiations was my turn then.

If the prominence of the business partners but is an indicator of the soundness of Benkos shops, they must be good. The Austrian real estate Emperor could about Hans-Peter Haselsteiner convince major shareholder of the construction group Strabag. Haselsteiner is entered as shareholders in the Benko offshoot Signa Prime Selection.

Pet Food Tycoon Torsten Toeller (“Pet”) is just as much to Benkos business friends like Wendelin Wiedeking , former Porsche CEO, and consultant legend Roland Berger. On the Advisory Board of the company sits the former Austrian Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer.

Tina Turner is one of his friends

Where Benko appears as gloss and glitter is not far. Circle of Friends is one of pop icon Tina Turner. In the suspected finest Alps address, in the Upper Austrian Lech am Arlberg, he has had for 38 million euros to build the “Chalet N”. One can rent, for 270,000 euros – per week. That there is this exclusive luxury including 3800 square meters of living space, dark wood paneling and driver service, of course.

Named has Benko, father of three children, the chalet after his wife Natalie. Otherwise, the elegant and versatile entrepreneur keeps up with information about his private life very back. As was reputed to him, he had a penchant for Ferrari, he had to deny: long sold

Perhaps fearing the climber, his image as a serious businessman could under. symbols of frivolity suffer. It has yet reached the damage this week, from a different direction. In the second instance, the Supreme Court upheld a guilty verdict in Vienna “for crimes of intervention” – in Germany we would say “corruption”

Benko is now a criminal record

The lower court had sentenced the businessman to probation of twelve months. Now he is considered a criminal. Benko has, according to the judgment tries to manipulate a control method in Italy. Ivo Sanader, then head of government in Croatia should use his contacts to Silvio Berlusconi and collect 150,000 euros. Benko has always denied the allegations.

Karstadt should now become his biggest deal. There are role models for the way in which the investor deals with major worldwide problem in difficult inner cities. As a journeyman applies Kaufhaus Tyrol in his Heimtstadt Innsbruck.

Benko turned the ailing site is a shopping center with more than 50 tenants, Deichmann to WMF. “We are seeing a number of visitors per month, which exceeds the population of Tyrol,” said one participant from Benkos management team proud. “We create magnets that bring the inner cities back to life.” The Karstadt project but, he admits, is a daunting challenge.

Photo: AP investor Rene Benko and his wife Nathalie

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