VIENNA The chief executive of Austrian property group Immofinanz (IMFI.VI), speaking on Thursday about a planned merger with rival CA Immo (CAIV.VI), in which it holds 26 percent, said it was not important who takes over whom.
Oliver Schumy told a shareholder meeting that for big investors the question of which company takes over the other one did not matter.
"What counts is the result and whether it will be possible to become one of the 10 (or) 12 big property firms (in Europe)," Schumy said.
In April, the two companies announced a new effort to merge to form a central and eastern Europe-focused powerhouse with a portfolio of around 6 billion euros ($6.73 billion) after previous attempts failed.
The main condition for progress on the merger is that Immofinanz must get rid of its Russia portfolio, consisting of five Moscow shopping centers.
Schumy said a decision on whether to sell the portfolio or spin it off will take a few months - less specific than a previous self-imposed deadline of the end of the year.
Several representatives of small investors in Immofinanz said they would prefer a spin-off of the Moscow shopping centers rather than a quick sale so they might benefit from any revival in Russia, where Immofinanz has been forced to offer rent reductions to its tenants.
(Reporting By Shadia Nasralla; editing by Francois Murphy and Adrian Croft)