Patrizia CEO job-share is a prelude to an expansion in alternatives

The Augsburg-based manager’s leadership change is expected to put asset classes including private equity and infrastructure on the menu for its investors.

Patrizia is set to hit the expansion trail again.

More than two years after capping off a remarkable year of corporate acquisitions, including the purchases of managers in London, Frankfurt and Copenhagen – followed by a smaller fourth in Tokyo a year later – the Augsburg-headquartered manager is making plans to go again.

This time, the targets are not necessarily going to be real estate managers. When Patrizia announced that UBS’s long-serving real estate and private markets head Thomas Wels will join at the turn of the month to share the chief executive position with current holder and founder Wolfgang Egger, the firm said his arrival would precipitate its entry into new business areas.

PERE understands this could include private equity and infrastructure, asset classes Wels oversaw during his final years at UBS. The Swiss bank’s Real Estate & Private Markets division, which has approximately $100 billion of assets on its books, manages private equity funds of funds and both direct and indirect infrastructure vehicles.

A Patrizia spokesman declined to comment on specific expansion areas, but told PERE: “Thomas has a proven track record beyond real estate and asset management.”

“In terms of real assets, Patrizia is already active in the cavern storage facility business. By broadening our portfolio and by bringing Thomas on board with his expertise, means we are looking at a range of asset classes and also at alternative investment opportunities to create more value for our clients.”

He added: “Expanding into other asset classes and business areas is one key reason why we are very excited to soon have him on our management team. Once Thomas is on board and had a chance to adapt to his new role, he will define strategies on how to grow our existing business and drive the industry consolidation.”

According to the spokesman, the manager has a war chest of approximately €600 million in cash with which to invest in its expansion plans, via “both organic and non-organic” means.

Patrizia is no stranger to corporate acquisitions. Between 2017-19, the manager effectively doubled is assets under management from around €20 billion to €40 billion through the purchases of managers including London-based Rockspring Property Investment Managers, Frankfurt-based Triuva, Copenhagen-headquartered Sparinvest Property Investors and Tokyo-based Kenzo Capital Corporation.

Meanwhile, how will Egger spend his time while Wels is guiding Patrizia into other asset classes? According to the firm’s announcement, he will be “broadening Patrizia’s global client base, develop its innovation and growth strategy and accelerate new technologies to lead the industry transformation.”

“Thomas will develop strategies to accelerate the industry consolidation including our move into new real asset classes and business areas and to further strengthen our client centric approach globally,” Egger said in the announcement. “This in turn will allow me to further deepen the dialogue with our investors in key markets across Europe, America and Asia, and to focus on strategy development for innovation and cutting-edge technologies with the clear goal to lead the transformation of our industry.”