From AIG to Orco

Ex-AIG hotels head Keith Lindsay has joined Central Eastern European developer and asset manager Orco to run its hospitality division.

Orco Property Group, the Central and Eastern European developer and asset manager, has recruited former AIG Global Real Estate hotels executive Keith Lindsay to lead its hospitality group.

Lindsay was AIG's global head of hospitality before joining Orco as chief executive officer of its hospitality arm. Orco created a joint venture hotel fund with AIG in 2006. Prior to AIG, Lindsay worked with the Walt Disney Company and Intercontinental Hotel Group as vice president for European investments. He is relocating from New York to Europe. A spokeswoman said Lindsay would be spending much of his time in Paris and Prague.

Orco concentrates its real estate activities on Central Europe and parts of Eastern Europe, sponsoring several sub-funds under the Endurance Real Estate Fund banner. The fund focuses on offices, retail, residential, industrial, logistics and health care markets. However, it also owns several hotel assets, such as the Pachtuv Palace in Prague, the Hotel Le Regina in Warsaw, the Andrassy Hotel in Budapest and the recently opened Pokrovka Suite Hotel in Moscow. In addition, the firm's portfolio includes nine hotels and resorts in Croatia such as the Amfora Pool and Harbour in Hvar.

Orco said Lindsay would have responsibility for operations of all MaMaison Hotels and apartments as well as the Sunéani Hvar Hotels in Croatia. He is also responsible for the asset management of Orco's properties and new investments.

Lindsay said the hospitality sector in Central Europe offered “tremendous opportunities” as countries within the region expand and complete the integration process in the European Union. Orco had plans to raise around €250 million (€388 million) for a hospitality fund last year, but the vehicle had to be postponed due to lack of demand.

The Endurance Hospitality Fund was launched in June 2007 as an opportunistic vehicle hoping to develop or redevelop assets as well as acquire properties that could be repositioned or improved. At the time of the fund launch, the firm said it would balance lower risk, return investments in capital cities in Central Europe with higher risk, return investments in secondary cities in Central Europe Balkans capital cities, Russia and the coast in Croatia.

Orco is based in Luxembourg but is listed on the Euronext in Paris as well as the stock exchanges of Prague, Warsaw and Budapest. It currently has €2.5 billion in assets under management.

In a statement on May 29, Orco said it had been forced to postpone some sub-funds due to the “international subprime crisis”, which caused delays in closing commitments.

It is currently raising four new sub-funds, Office 2, Health Care, Industrial and Logistics and Infrastructure, with three other sub-funds undergoing an approval process: energy, retail and securities.

INREV chairman bags top investment job at PGGM
Johan van der Ende has been promoted to chief investment officer at PGGM following the departure of Piet Roelandt in May. Van der Ende has been serving as head of strategy and structured investments at the Dutch fund and is also an influential figure on the European property scene, serving as chairman of the European Association for Investors in Non-listed Real Estate Vehicles since last April. In a statement, PGGM said Van der Ende would combine the responsibilities of his current position with those of chief investment officer. He reports to PGGM Investments chief executive, Else Bos.

Taylor leaves QIA, relaunches Three Delta
Paul Taylor and the Qatar Investment Authority have parted ways, both parties have confirmed. Taylor's Three Delta fund has been the main property investment vehicle for Qatar's sovereign wealth fund for three years. However last year Taylor's high-profile failure to acquire the UK grocer chain Sainsbury's reportedly caused a rift between the two parties. QIA has bought out Taylor's 50 percent stake in all the acquisitions made by Three Delta to date, and the portfolio will pass into their hands. According to reports, Taylor will now take the emptied Three Delta fund and relaunch it with new investors. Taylor has reportedly invested a portion of his own wealth into the fund's relaunch, and has already garnered commitments from private and institutional investors. The new incarnation of the fund has already bought a property in London, the old Royal British Legion Headquarters, which it will develop into luxury apartments.

UBS hires new Euro acquisitions head
UBS Global Asset Management has appointed Ward van de Braak as head of real estate acquisitions and dispositions in Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg. Van de Braak joins from Netherlands-based listed property investment firm Vastned where he led real estate acquisition and disposals for the firm's office and industrial fund. Prior to that, van de Braak worked for Jones Lang LaSalle in Amsterdam. UBS's global real estate business is led by Paul Marcuse. Commenting on his appointment, Peter Roehrenbach, UBS's head of real estate acquisitions and dispositions in Europe, pointed to Van de Braak's long track record and experience in the Dutch real estate sector as the reason for the hire.

Landmark appoints ex-DTZ exec
Landmark Partners has appointed former DTZ Investment Management executive Paul Parker to spearhead the expansion of its European secondary and funds of funds operations. Parker was previously head of DTZ's multi-manager and fund of funds business, launching the firm's first real estate fund of funds, Aurora Europe, for institutional investors. Parker has joined Simsbury, Connecticut-based Landmark as managing director and will be based in London. Gary Stevens, partner and head of Landmark's real estate arm, said the private equity real estate secondaries market had grown significantly over the past few years with investments increasingly being made in “non-US markets.”

Europa makes first purchase in Ukraine
Europa's new Emerging Europe Fund has acquired Logistic Park East I, a 23,856-square-meter warehouse for $25 million (€16 million) from Ukrainian developer Aladdin Group. The warehouse is in the Kiev region, 15 kilometers north east of the city centre and close to major transportation routes, including the main Kiev-Moscow highway. The warehouse is fully let to a single tenant, UVK, one of the largest logistics companies in Ukraine, and a subsidiary of the Fozzy Group, one of Ukraine's largest supermarket companies. This is the fund's first acquisition in Ukraine. Tim Norman, chief executive of Europa Capital Emerging Europe, said: “Despite today's difficult market conditions, this deal demonstrates that good investment opportunities exist if you have the local knowledge to find them.”

Benson Elliot buys stake in Spanish company
Benson Elliot Capital Management has acquired a 70 percent stake in Barcelona-based property company Promobuilding, through a recapitalization and subscription of new shares. The investment in Promobuilding is expected to provide the company with up to €500 million ($774 million) of additional firepower to focus on the acquisition and development of distressed residential investment opportunities across Spain over the next two years, which will either be undertaken alone or with other select joint venture partners. Promobuilding's senior management team will retain ownership of the remaining 30 percent of the company. No changes to the senior management team at Promobuilding are planned. Benson Elliot and Promobuilding first joined forces in mid-2007, investing in a prime land parcel just 150 metres from the sea in Mont Roig del Camp. Six months later the partners created a joint venture to acquire a prominent residential site in Sant Fruitos de Bages, near Manresa.

Tishman Speyer sells German asset
International developer and fund manager Tishman Speyer has sold Hans-Böckler-Strasse 36 in Düsseldorf to the Dutch property fund, VastNed, for an undisclosed sum. The 7,400-square-meter office building is located in the Kennedydamm business district between the city center and the airport. It is fully let to insurance company Victoria Versicherungen. The property formed part of the Nautilus portfolio, acquired by Tishman Speyer's value-added fund, TSEV, in 2007.

Hypo board leaves it to shareholders
Hypo Real Estate has said it will not recommend approval or rejection of an offer by US private equity firm JC Flowers to acquire a 24.9 percent stake in the company. Both the management and supervisory board of Hypo, the German-based international real estate lender, said they continued to welcome the offer because it could lead to “stabilization” of the company and facilitate long-term planning. However, the boards also said they could not recommend shareholders to either accept or reject the bid, pitched at €22.50 ($34.86) a share because the “current intrinsic” value of the shares was “significantly higher” than the offer price. JC Flowers, Grove International Partners and Japan's Shinsei Bank first revealed their offer on April 16, representing a premium of around 20.5 percent to the three-month weighted average.