A pioneer real estate developer has placed the highest offer to acquire the headquarters of the embattled Tekleberhan Ambaye Construction Plc (TACON), located near the CMC area.

Ayat Real Estate has offered 615 million Br for the property auctioned on August 19, 2021. The state-owned Commercial Bank of Ethiopia's (CBE) holds the property sprawled on a 13,203sqm of land as collateral against loans. The Bank's management was unwilling to disclose the loan amount, citing client confidentiality.

Last week's auction was the latest in a series of troubles faced by TACON Plc, once regarded as a leader in a construction industry which grew by an average of 10pc to 15pc a year over the past decade. The CBE put Edna Mall, another of Tekleberhan Ambaye's flagship properties in the Bole Medhanialem area, up for auction a month ago for loan defaults. East Steel, a Chinese industrialist, submitted the highest offer of 810 million Br for the building, though the handover is yet to be completed.

The interest to acquire TACON's main asset drew only two bidders, unlike Edna Mall, which had garnered the interest of five bidders, including Hibret Bank. Located in Yeka District, the property is 200 meters from one of the capital’s most luxurious residential complexes, Tsehay Real Estate – a developer which claims to have invested three billion Birr in constructing 630 units in 13 apartment blocs in the area.

Neither are Ayat's residential estate is too far from TACON's head office. Ayat's offer is six times the threshold auction price for the head office, which incorporates a garage, two warehouses, and two buildings of three and four storeys.

“The offer is not much higher than what would be expected,” said Abiy Mamo, board member of Ayat, which has 1,000 permanent employees and 10,000 temporary workers.

The real estate company plans to use the compound for mixed purposes, Abiy hinted.

Commercial Nominees Plc, a property management company under the CBE, made the second-highest offer of 600 million Br, which its executives say reflects the market price of properties in the area.

"Considering the market assessment we've done, our offer was sufficient," said Yeshitila Tefera, director of strategic management & business development at Commercial Nominees.

The company, established 46 years ago, had lost the bid for Edna Mall after offering 700 million Br.

Wubshet Abera is a property management and marketing expert with almost eight years of experience. Knowledgeable about the brokering of real estate properties and residential houses, he believes the offer made for the property is much lower than anticipated. The most valuable asset of the compound is the land, which Wubishet thinks should have driven up its value.

According to the expert, in a city where a 1,000sqm residential compound received an offer of 100 million Br, particularly in the Bole area, TACON's property would have been worth one billion Birr.

"Its real value has been downplayed by current situations in the country, including instability, lack of investor confidence and the freezing of collateral-based loans," said Wubishet.

Another developer initially owned the property before being acquired by Teklebrehan Ambaye roughly two decades ago.

The management of TACON was not available for comment.


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