(Bloomberg) -- Citigroup Inc. is among lenders that have provided credit to a now-insolvent unit of Rene Benko’s Signa group of companies, making the Wall Street firm the latest to be identified in a long list of banks with exposure to the Austrian real estate tycoon.
Citi is part of a consortium that has committed a loan facility worth €100 million ($110 million) to an e-commerce company known as Signa Sports United, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. SSU filed for insolvency a month ago after Benko’s main holding vehicle, Signa Holding, pulled a vital financing lifeline.
A spokesman for the US bank confirmed that Citi is part of the consortium but declined to give additional details.
Read More: Signa Insolvency Wave Nears as Last-Ditch Fund Talks Falter
Signa is at risk of becoming one of Europe’s largest property meltdowns since the global financial crisis. The real estate and retail group — which owns stakes in high-profile properties including New York’s Chrysler building — is racing to raise as much as €600 million to meet near-term liquidity needs, Bloomberg has reported.
Signa companies have borrowed from a large number of European banks including UniCredit SpA and Raiffeisen Bank International AG, Bloomberg has reported. Swiss bank Julius Baer has more than 600 million Swiss francs in outstanding loans to Signa, the main reason why it set aside 70 million francs in provisions since the end of October. Analysts are saying it may face further impairments.
Read More: Julius Baer to Impair Half Its Signa Exposure, Vontobel Says
Much of Signa’s credit exposure was given by banks to fund acquisitions and construction work on real estate developments. Those loans are often secured against property, potentially enabling the creditors to recoup losses.
(Adds context about bank exposures in final paragraph)
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