| FRANKFURT, April 10
FRANKFURT, April 10 Cerberus has joined
the growing list of private equity firms looking into German
property as it is close to buying 22,000 German flats from
Speymill Deutsche Immobilien (SDIC) for some 900 million euros
Ernst & Young has been mandated to sell the apartments for
SDIC as the rents no longer provided sufficient guarantees for
SDIC's lenders, SDIC Company Secretary Nigel Caine told Reuters
"The sale is imminent," Caine said. "The German market is
still relatively buoyant."
International investors, including private equity, are
flocking to the German property market, attracted by a steady
rise in values in the last couple of years, which contrasts with
the boom-and-bust of Spanish and Irish real estate markets.
Private equity also has a track record of investing in
German real estate. Goldman Sachs, Cerberus and Goldman
advised-Whitehall Funds held 40 percent of GSW Immobilien
until they started reducing their stake last year.
A person with knowledge of the matter said that the SDIC
sale would probably happen in two to three weeks. SDIC's main
lender, Dutch bank NIBC, began the process in Aug.
2011. The person declined to be identified as the process is
still confidential. Ernst & Young declined to comment.
The German cartel office already approved the sale last
week. The regulatory approval, though, does not mean that a deal
The assets consist of the remaining three portfolios of SDIC
with properties throughout Germany after Benson Elliot said in
March it bought a first portfolio with 3,000 flats.
The value of SDIC's property assets was 1.4 billion euros at
the end of June 2010, according to the latest published annual
report of the group.
SDIC, incorporated in the Isle of Man, will be wound down ,
p robably by the end of the year, o nce all its assets, which also
include property management company GOAL in Berlin, have been
divested, Caine said.