Invel strikes €653m Greek deal(2)

In what is being dubbed the  largest real estate transaction ever in Greece, the new investment platform of Chris Papachristophorou, the former head of opportunistic investing at RREEF, has agreed to buy a majority stake in Pangaea.

Invel Real Estate Partners, the new investment platform of Chris Papachristophorou, has signed a €653 million deal reputed to be the largest real estate transaction in Greece. The new firm has agreed to a share purchase in which Invel is acquiring a 66 percent stake in NBG Pangaea Real Estate Investment, the real estate arm of the National Bank of Greece that requires capital to meet bailout conditions.

Pangaea is the largest of Greece's listed REICs and owns a portfolio of 243 commercial properties stretching to 4.47 million square feet of space across Greece, with concentrations in the main regions of Attica and Thessaloniki. Pangaea expects to grow to include more than €1 billion of real estate assets by the end of 2013, after completing awarded asset acquisitions and planned property contributions from both NBG and Invel, the two parties stated. They added that the transaction had been approved by the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund and the Directorate-General for Competition of the European Commission.

Papachristophorou, Invel’s founder and managing partner, said in a statement: “Invel’s material investment into the Greek real estate market demonstrates our confidence in the potential of this market and the recovery of the Greek economy overall.”

The deal is a coup for Papachristophorou, the former head of opportunistic real estate at RREEF Real Estate. He left the firm last year and, up until a few months ago, was helping to grow an investment management business called BSGRE. BSGRE is the real estate arm of the Beny Steinmetz trusts and foundations, whose main activities are in natural resources and diamonds.

At the time, the idea was that BSGRE would have seeded Invel with $400 million and Papachristophorou would spend time helping BSGRE organise itself as a separate entity. However, Invel became more of a full -time venture and is being grown independently of BSGRE, which now has the right though not the obligation to co-invest in all of Invel's deals and is a co-investor in the Pangaea transaction.