Portland Capital, a London-based firm backed by Apax founder Sir Ronald Cohen, is reportedly winding down its business specialising in managing a real estate securities fund.
The business, which was started in 2007, sustained “substantial losses” according to the Wall Street Journal, which also said the firm had decided to return money to investors in the fund.
A spokesman told the newspaper that the investment team “felt unable to deliver attractive returns given much heightened volatility for real-estate stocks,” adding that their backers, including Sir Ronald Cohen, had therefore decided to return to investors the money in the fund and close it at the end of the year.
The fund has already liquidated its positions, realising a loss of 33 percent since its launch.
At the time of the firm’s launch, PERE reported how Cohen – who stepped down as chief executive of Apax Partners in 2005 – was returning to private equity through a partnership with financier Lord Jacob Rothschild.
George Kountouris, previously European head of Deutsche Bank's real estate private equity group, and Nigel King, formerly head of European real estate finance at Salomon Smith Barney, joined the start up to manage the real estate vehicle.
The Wall Street Journal said after a positive debut, the fund struggled amid the financial crisis. King departed in November 2008, leaving Kountouris in charge. Kountouris was labeled inactive as of December 18 on the register of individuals authorised and regulated by the UK Financial Services Authority.