AEW Europe to launch €350m opportunistic fund

The Paris-based firm is looking to structure a six-year fund for investors keen on higher risk and return strategies.

AEW Europe is set to launch its next opportunistic real estate fund imminently, seeking €350 million for a six-year vehicle.

Speaking at the Mipim property show last week, Russell Jewell, managing director and head of private equity funds, said the AEW Europe Partners Fund would mirror the US AEW Partners series where the company is in the market with Fund VII.

Describing the European vehicle as having a “broad” strategy, Jewell added the fund could well have a soft cap of €400 million. Explaining the shorter shelf life than is normally the case with private equity real estate funds, he said: “Investors are saying; ‘If there is an opportunity now, you should be able to go out and invest it now.’”

The former head of global principal investments at Merrill Lynch, who joined AEW in July 2011, said the firm currently had three higher-return funds under management that had attracted around €2 billion of capital between them.

They are the €357 million Curzon Capital Partners (CCP) fund II with a 2005 vintage, the €759 million European Property Investors in 2004 and the €788 million European Property Investors Special Opportunities (EPISO) in 2008. The investment period for EPISO is coming to an end, Jewell added. The last two are co-managed by London-based Tristan Capital Partners.

“The new fund will be more private equity orientated than previous funds. That is, we will not restrict ourselves to always being investors on the equity-side. We might buy debt, or we might be involved in mezzanine loan situations. We are trying to keep as broad as possible.”