Scheduled to launch today, a $2 billion dollar fund to buy distressed European properties by Beny Steinmetz (BSG)is all in the news. The Israeli billionaire's new venture will reportedly be aimed at leveraging low prices across Europe's beleaguered property sector.
Steinmetz, renown for his diamond entrepreneurship has reportedly hired Chris Papachristophorou, former head of Deutche Bank's RREEF, to oversee the new operations. According to BSG's spokespersons, the focus of these investments will largely target shops and offices in desperate need of restructuring etc. Interestingly, we contacted both the BSG offices in Switzerland and failing an answer to our queries there, also contacted the UK offices of Onyx Financial Advisors to get further information. Neither office's contact got back with us.
Below is a video from Steinmetz which reveals where the company originated, and Mr. Steinmetz's principle and core focal business. As to BSG's outlook for Europe commercial investments, Bloomberg's Elisa Martinuzzi & Sharon Smyth quote Papachristophorou as having told them in a phone interview:
“For sure, European real estate markets are seeing a recovery, and the pace of deals will accelerate in 2013 and 2014."
Certainly as more and more European banks quicken to sell off distressed paper, speculators and investors worldwide will ramp up their acquisitions, especially where the price is right and other factors bear. However, just as this Wall Street Journal piece suggests, a special expertise will be needed for success in turning around these properties. Ego, Steinmetz's bringing Papachristophorou on board.