Colony Capital’s head of European debt investments leaves

Dilip Awtani, a managing director at Colony Capital and a former European leader for NPLs and distressed investments for GE Capital is moving on. The news comes after the firm reportedly launched a senior real estate debt fund targeting the region.

Colony Capital’s head of European debt investments is leaving the company, it has emerged.

Dilip Awtani, a managing director at Colony, told contacts and business associates yesterday that we was “moving on” and that he would leave the business this week. It is not yet known what the dealmaker will do next.

Awtani was responsible for loan acquisitions, loan originations and structured product investments in Europe having joined Colony in 2009. He was based in the London office of the Santa Monica, California-headquartered firm.

Prior to joining Colony, he was executive director and European leader for non performing loans and distressed investments at GE Capital in Europe. However, his early career began in the IT sector, having been a systems engineer for IBM from 1988. Between 2002 and 2003 he founded and acted as chief executive officer of Abacus Applications, a software startup with Thomson Financial.

At Colony, some of his most eye-catching deals were in Germany. Shortly after joining in June three years ago, the firm bought a portfolio of non-performing loans from a German cooperative bank. The German portfolio, acquired from Bankaktiengesellschaft (BAG) bank, had a face value of $90 million. It was the first time BAG had completed a deal with a third party. In August 2011, Colony Capital’s funds also bought a package of nonperforming loans with a face value of €370 million from four German banks, Eurohypo, Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen (Helaba), Berlin Hyp and Archon Capital Bank.

More recently the company was an under bidder on a 35-strong loan, €1 billion loan portfolio being sold by Lloyds Banking Group.

Awtani’s departure coincides the launch by Colony Capital of a €500 million – €1 billon European senior debt fund, which sources said was launched just two weeks ago. Thibault Chauvin was recruited from Credit Foncier, where he was managing director, head of international real estate finance for four years, to lead the effort.

London-based CoStar News reported on 18 September that Chauvin’s team would have the flexibility to finance prime and good secondary properties, including hotels and selective  development finance projects as well as CMBS loan restructuring opportunities and that the new debt fund would target around 5 to 8 percent IRRs.

Colony, led by Thomas Barrack, has around $25 billion of assets under management. Its European team is led by Sebastien Bazin,