France opportunity fund attracts €80m

Weinberg Capital Partners, the Paris-based firm, is on course to meet its target of €150m to deploy in opportunistic and value add investments amid ‘economic turmoil’ in France.

Weinberg Capital Partners, the Paris-based firm, has so far raised €80 million of equity for a value add and opportunity fund amid “structural recession” in France. The firm announced the first closing of the vehicle yesterday.

The company has seen re-ups as well as new commitments  from French institutional investors, plus investment from French family offices for the first time and some non-French investors for the fund called WREP2. Evidence Capital founded by Jocelyn Laudet is the placement agent.

The fund is being raised at a time of heightened interest in the French real estate market from investors seeking opportunistic returns amid a recessionary environment with France requiring years of structural reform.

Laurent Halimi, partner at the firm, described France as being in “structural recession” with opportunities being created as a result.

Weinberg Capital said its WREP2 fund had matched at first close the total equity raised for its first fund. That fund, WREP1, raised a final total of €83 million in 2008 and completed five transactions. It invested in offices in established locations in Paris and the Paris area, plus clinics and retail property.

WREP2 has the same strategy as Fund I and is focussing on “complex off-market transactions” sourced from “end users” such as companies that face economic challenges, private owners and projects in partnership with developers. The remit includes assets with redevelopment or other asset management potential.

The fund is targeting a size of €150 million overall with a hard cap of €200 million.

Weinberg Capital Partners – not to be confused with New York’s Perella Weinberg Partners – is an independent French company that was founded in 2005 by Serge Weinberg who is the former chief executive of luxury goods group, PPR, now called Kering. It operates a French mid-market buyout fund as well as a real estate investment management division.