Europa forms strategic JV with China’s Ilex

The London-based private equity real estate firm hopes to introduce a growing pool of Chinese institutions to deals in Europe.

Europa Capital, the London-based private equity real estate firm, has entered into a strategic partnership with Beijing-based corporate advisory firm Ilex Partners, in an effort to bring more Chinese capital into European real estate deals.

In an announcement, the firms jointly described the tie-up as a “long-term commitment to forge and maintain relationships with investors and property developers in China”.

Europa said the partnership would enable it to gain exposure to Ilex’s Chinese institutional investor clients, an increasing number of which are putting capital to work in Western property markets as domestic regulations ease, enabling them to diversify their holdings from a concentration on home soil. Europa identified Chinese institutional investors including insurance companies and property developers as among the groups it wishes to work with.

In partnering with Europa, Ilex gains exposure to a firm which already invests on behalf of 90 institutional investors, managing for them assets valued at more than $20 billion. It was started in 1995 and has since raised seven funds, committing approximately €7 billion in 75 deals in the process.

Charles Graham, a founding partner of Europa Capital said: “Europa Capital and Ilex recognize that Chinese capital will become an increasingly influential investor force in the European market in the years to come. Although much of the recent international real estate investment activity has been focused on the UK and, in particular London, Europa Capital expects that the investment focus will steadily broaden in search of return to encompass mainland Europe, where Europa Capital has considerable investment experience. Europa Capital’s local expertise across Europe and strong deal pipeline enable it to unlock unique investment opportunities, which it is able to share with long-term Chinese partners.”

William Stonor, chief executive officer at Ilex, said: “We are delighted to be working with Europa Capital, a member of New York-based Rockefeller Group, and to assist them with building their presence in China. Chinese outbound investment has grown fivefold since 2005 to $77bn in 2012 and Europa Capital is an ideal partner for Chinese investors seeking to invest in the European real estate sector. We believe that the combination of Europa Capital’s impressive track record in European real estate investment and Ilex’s extensive expertise in China will generate tremendous opportunities for Chinese investors in European real estate.”