FRANKFURT (Reuters) – German logistics entrepreneur Klaus-Michael Kuehne is examining a takeover of Signa Group’s abandoned Elbtower high-rise project in his hometown of Hamburg, Handelsblatt reported.
Construction of the skyscraper halted in early November, when Signa stopped paying its builder. Discussions on the takeover by Kuehne are quite advanced, but no decision has been made, German newspaper Handelsblatt reported, citing a source.
Kuehne is the majority owner of transport group Kuehne und Nagel as well as a stakeholder in German airline Lufthansa and shipping firm Hapag Lloyd.
Signa, owner of New York’s Chrysler Building and Britain’s Selfridges store, and spokespeople for Kuehne and the city of Hamburg did not respond to requests for comment on Sunday.
Founded by Austrian billionaire René Benko, Signa faces a storm of high construction costs and rising loan interest rates. This led to the insolvency of its subsidiary Signa Real Estate Management Germany on Friday, Spiegel magazine reported.
Construction had halted at six sites under development by Signa in Germany by mid-November, underscoring the depth of troubles at the firm and the broader real estate sector.
(Reporting by Emma-Victoria Farr; Editing by Alexander Smith)