GIC among funds that bought Signa’s equity-like securities


LONDON – Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Singapore’s GIC are among the investors listed as holders of riskier equity-like instruments issued by Signa’s luxury real estate unit, now caught up in insolvency proceedings in Austria.

The PIF owns 287 million euros (S$417 million) of the profit participation securities, known as Genussrechte or Genussscheine, while the Singapore sovereign wealth fund owns 85 million euros, according to the insolvency filing from Signa Prime Selection dated Dec 28 seen by Bloomberg News.

Profit participation rights are subordinated securities that grant holders a share of the issuer’s profits. Bloomberg News previously reported that the PIF had exposure to the ailing Austrian real estate group’s junior debt.

Representatives for PIF and GIC declined to comment. A spokesperson for Signa didn’t respond to a request for comment.

How much these investors will be able to recoup from these investments during the insolvency process remains unclear. The two main property units of Rene Benko’s Signa group, Signa Prime and Signa Development Selection, filed for court-supervised self-administration proceedings in December.

Signa Prime and Signa Development are looking to raise 350 million euros in total via new profit participation securities as part of their insolvency plan, according to filings seen by Bloomberg News.

Unlike the existing profit participation rights, the new funding would not be part of the claims treated under Signa’s restructuring arrangement, but would rather help fund it.

Close ties

The insolvency filings highlight how Benko was able to tap deep-pocketed and farflung investors, through a variety of financing.

Take Signa’s Bahnhofplatz 7 project in Munich, which was to renovate the Hermann Tietz department store and construct the new Corbinian building.

Signa Prime guaranteed 117 million euros of financing from the PIF to the company that ran the development, according to the insolvency filing. Corporate filings show how the PIF bought 187 million euros of profit participation certificates linked to that project, guaranteed by Signa Prime, back in March 2022.

The PIF is not the only Middle East investor listed. The insolvency filing also shows 93 million euros in guaranteed financing from SIGN Holdings RSC Limited, a special purpose vehicle registered in Abu Dhabi. AC Limited, a prominent Dubai investment fund, is shown as linked to the vehicle in the insolvency filing. About a third of funding went to the five-star Bauer Hotel in Venice. A spokesperson for AC Limited didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

The insolvency filing also discloses a 200 million euros corporate loan granted by a company with directors from Germany’s Schoeller Group, founded by the industrial family of that name. The financing was granted to a subsidiary of Signa Prime Selection, Signa Prime Capital Invest, according to the filing.

Signa Prime and Signa Development’s insolvency filings did not give a comprehensive breakdown of total exposures, meaning that specific creditors could have larger holdings than indicated.



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