(Corrects Papachristophorou’s age in fifth paragraph.)
Chris Papachristophorou, former global head of Deutsche Bank AG (DBK)’s RREEF Opportunistic Investments, is joining Beny Steinmetz Group Real Estate to run a private-equity venture that aims to invest $2 billion.
Invel plans to buy European assets sold by companies and governments that are reorganizing as well as distressed assets, said Papachristophorou. Invel, based in London, will provide seed capital and try to find buyers to co-invest in each transaction.
BSG Real Estate, a unit of the Beny Steinmetz Foundation, is raising funds as European nations including Greece, Spain and Italy strive to attract real estate investors to help cut debt. The euro region’s recession, which deepened in the fourth quarter, has also forced businesses including banks, airlines and carmakers to scale back and reorganize.
“For sure, European real estate markets are seeing a recovery, and the pace of deals will accelerate in 2013 and 2014,” Papachristophorou said in a phone interview. Opportunities from European banks will increase as their performance improves and they’re able to withstand losses on sales, he said.
Papachristophorou, 44, who is also chief executive officer of BSG Real Estate, left RREEF last year. His previous real estate deals include the restructuring of France’s Printemps department stores, which RREEF is now in talks to sell to the co-owner, Borletti Group, and Qatari investors.
In February, Deutsche Bank, Germany’s biggest bank, reorganized the management of the unit that invests in real estate and infrastructure after scrapping a sale of the business.
Invel will have enough capital to make investments before attracting investors and is already looking at four assets, Papachristophorou said. Invel is interested in properties in Italy, France, Spain and Germany, he said.
Beny Steinmetz, Israel’s richest person, ranked 137th in the Bloomberg Billionaires ranking published in December’s Bloomberg Markets.
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