Moscow Offers AFI 25% Stake in Mall

AFI, which handles Africa Israel's real estate operations in Russia, already owns 75% of the mall.

The Moscow municipality has offered AFI Development, which handles Africa Israel's real estate operations in Russia, a 25% stake in the Mall of Russia, report Russian media outlets. AFI already owns 75% of the mall, which it is in the process of building. The mall is estimated to be worth $500-700 million.

Under the management of Alexander Khaldey, AFI has already leased more than 30% of the shopping center space. Africa Israel management has noted in the past that the shopping center would not be opened until at least 50-60% of the space has been leased. With the completion of construction expected in the fourth quarter of this year or the first quarter of 2010, the Moscow City project is expected to become one of the largest commercial and entertainment centers in Europe and Russia, sprawling over some 100,000 square meters.

Africa Israel is busy these days trying to reach a debt arrangement with bondholders and banks for some NIS 8 billion in debts. It's Russian operations are one of its most important assets, and the company hopes they will generate a tidy profit hopes as markets recover.