EMEA Real Estate Correspondent
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Jul 8, 2010

Analysis: Private equity, wealth funds chase banks’ hotels

LONDON/HONG KONG (Reuters) – Banks are set to step up sales of struggling hotels, a boon for buyers such as private equity and sovereign wealth funds pursuing prestigious addresses and higher returns versus other commercial properties.

Hotels are likely the first properties in line to be sold by embattled banks seeking to repair balance sheets, with investor interest lifted by the beginnings of a return in business travel that was curtailed in the wake of 2008’s global financial crisis.

Jun 16, 2010

Reuters Summit – Europe debt crisis to prolong property pain -Deka

LONDON (Reuters) – Europe’s escalating sovereign debt crisis may dent rental prospects for commercial property and postpone a recovery in the hard-hit sector, a management board member of Germany’s Dekabank said on Wednesday.

“We’ve just seen that pricing was close to the bottom … we may have to change that view if the European crisis will go on or get stronger,” Matthias Danne, who oversees the bank’s real estate businesses, told the Reuters Global Real Estate and Infrastructure Summit.

Jun 15, 2010

Reuters Summit-AXA Real Estate mulls bid for ING REIM-CIO

LONDON, June 15 (Reuters) – AXA Real Estate, part of Europe’s No. 2 insurer AXA (AXAF.PA: Quote, Profile, Research), is mulling a possible bid for ING’s (ING.AS: Quote, Profile, Research) real estate unit as part of an aggressive plan to grow its business at the expense of ailing rivals, a senior executive said.

Chief Investment Officer Dennis Lopez said AXA Real Estate had managed a torrid downturn in developed property markets “extremely well” and was looking to leverage its enhanced credibility with investors in opportunistic corporate takeovers.

May 20, 2010

Great Portland buys London offices as NAV rises

LONDON, May 20 (Reuters) – British landlord Great Portland
<GPOR.L> said it had two new acquisitions as it sees better
rental conditions in its core London office market after beating
forecasts with a 15.5 percent annual rise in the value of its

At 0852 GMT, Great Portland’s shares were up 1.2 percent at
302 pence, against the broader British property stocks index
<.FTELUK> which was 0.4 percent higher.

Apr 29, 2010

Hammerson says UK, French mall assets improving

LONDON, April 29 (Reuters) – Anglo-French property investor
Hammerson <HMSO.L> said on Thursday the performances of its
retail assets improved in the first quarter, and that the market
outlook was unclear due to the weak economic recovery.

“The economic recovery in our markets remains fragile, and
uncertainties remain, not least regarding the level of
unemployment and the prospect of further tax rises,” it said in
a trading update.

Apr 28, 2010

Liberty split triggers specialised REIT push

LONDON (Reuters) – UK real estate investment trusts (REITs) will embrace specialised portfolios over the next two years as they shy away from diversification and copy the focused commercial property models entrenched in the United States and Australia.

The move towards REITs that focus on specific property types such as offices, retail, or industrial comes as the sector rebounds from recession-driven falls in asset values and shares, and as mall owner Liberty International <LII.L> splits its portfolio into two separately listed firms.

Mar 23, 2010

Property swaps sector needs test mkt to shake niche status

LONDON, March 23 (Reuters) – Europe’s five-year-old market
for commercial property derivatives will struggle to mature
beyond niche status unless more potential end-users support its
development with “real money” test trades, experts said.

Banks, property companies, fund managers and pension funds
were urged to get over liquidity fears and use or lose the
fledgling market in 2010 as a longer-than-expected experimental
phase threatened to spill into another year.

Mar 17, 2010

One-fifth of Europe comm. prop. debt problematic-CBRE

LONDON, March 17 (Reuters) – More than one-fifth of Europe’s
unpaid commercial property debts are tied to low-quality assets,
highlighting the scale of a problem lenders have yet to overcome
as the market begins to rebound, a report showed on Wednesday.

Of the 970 billion euros ($1.3 trillion) in European
commercial real estate debt outstanding at end-2009, 207 billion
were secured at high loan-to-values (LTVs) on poor-quality
properties, consultants CB Richard Ellis said on Wednesday.

Mar 17, 2010

Derwent NAV rebounds, speeds up London office devts

LONDON, March 17 (Reuters) – Office developer Derwent London
<DLN.L> on Wednesday posted a 18 percent rise in net asset value
in second-half 2009, and plans to speed up new developments to
capture the commercial property recovery in the UK capital.

Derwent, Britain’s sixth-largest real estate investment
trust, said central London’s occupier market has stabilised and
predicts rents to rise 5-10 percent this year.

Mar 9, 2010

Liberty Intl unveils demerger, fall in NAV

LONDON, March 9 (Reuters) – Britain’s biggest mall owner,
Liberty International <LII.L>, is carving up its 6.2 billion
pounds ($9.3 billion) portfolio to drive shareholder value, a
likely watershed for the rebounding UK listed property sector.

The real estate investment trust (REIT), which owns regional
shopping centres throughout the UK, said it plans to split into
two businesses, one focused on UK shopping centres and the other
on Central London commercial properties.

    • About Daryl

      "I am Reuters real estate correspondent based in London, covering Europe, Middle East and Africa. I cover global listed and unlisted real estate markets, real estate finance and banking, and write interviews, analysis, and other stories on both the sell-side – listed real estate investment trusts, developers, investment banks; and the buy-side – private equity, pension and insurance, and sovereign wealth funds. I have a special interest in European real estate financing, government interventions in Europe and its effects, emerging Europe and China’s booming but haphazard property markets."
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