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JER to close Mexico and Brazil offices in ‘next few months’

The McLean, Virginia-based firm said it was ceasing its investment activities in Latin America owing to market conditions. It is working with investors to wind down the regional platform.

JER Partners is set to close its Mexico and Brazil offices in the next few months, the firm confirmed today.

PERE exclusively revealed last week that the McLean, Virginia-based firm was closing its Latin America fund and offices as it sought to focus on its core platforms in the US and Europe.

In a statement, JER said it had decided to “conclude” its activities in Latin America “due to market conditions and strategic priorities. JER is focusing its business activities on asset management, value preservation and value creation within the company's existing portfolios.”

The firm is working with investors to wind down its programme in the region, with expectations that its Mexico City and Sao Paulo offices will close “over the course of the next few months”. The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) recommended allocating $500 million to JER Partners' Latin America Fund I last September.

Former JER chief operating officer Michael Pralle aggressively developed JER’s presence in Latin America, hiring a raft of senior professionals to source investments in the region.

Roberto Perroni, formerly superintendent director of Brazilian development and investment firm, Camargo Corrêa Desenvolvimento Imobiliário, led the firm’s operations from Mexico City, while Hernandez, previously national sales director of GE’s commercial finance arm, GE Capital Solutions Mexico, led the Sao Paulo office.

In the wake of the credit crisis though, JER has turned its attention to managing assets.

Pralle left the firm for personal reasons in March and at the end of June, founder Joseph Robert announced he was stepping aside to make way for new management. Ex-Starwood Capital real estate vice chairman Barden Gale took over as chief executive officer of the overall firm, JE Robert Companies, at the start of July.