Gazit-Globe sees opportunity in Brazil currency drop
* Brazil accounts for 1 pct of Israeli firm's assets
* Also sees buying opportunities in Europe
* Focus in U.S. is on developing existing assets
By Tova Cohen and Steven Scheer
TEL AVIV, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Gazit-Globe, Israel's largest real estate investment company, may triple the scale of its presence in Brazil after declines in the country's currency and capital markets created buying opportunities, the company's president said.
The company owns five shopping centres in Brazil, most of them located in the densely-populated Sao Paulo state.
But Gazit-Globe has only just begun to penetrate the country, which accounts for about 1 percent of its 76.9 billion shekels ($21.96 billion) in assets under management. President Roni Soffer said that proportion could easily double or triple.
"It doesn't make sense to build companies that will be just $200-$300 million. We are looking at $1 billion total gross asset in markets we operate. I want to get to critical mass," he said in an interview.
Soffer said the currency fall and weakening Brazilian markets were prompting some international investors to start selling assets, which created good buying opportunities. Continued...