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BERLIN-The private Dutch-based BXR group is out to build a portfolio of 50,000 German apartments after executing a complex re-positioning of a distressed package of 10,000 flats in Berlin and Wuppertal owned by the near-insolvent, Danish-listed Tower Group.

BXR CEO Derk Stikker says the heavy investment by Danish banks in German residential, mainly in the boom years 2006 and 2007, was not accompanied by adequate operating management. As a result, uncontrolled outsourcing, the principal problem encountered by Tower, means similar distressed portfolios are likely to come onto the market. “The good thing is that we now have a platform as a result of the Tower deal, onto which we can add more, so now we’re going out to look for large portfolios,” said Stikker, a Dutch-born former banker. “Our strength is that we have dealt with all these Danish banks in the Tower deal. But there is still a huge amount of debt from Danish banks in Germany committed in similar deals so there are undoubtedly plenty of other portfolios likely to come available from very similar sources.”

BXR, which also has housing interests in the Czech Republic, bought into the Copenhagen-based Tower early last year. Backed by international bankers and other financiers, BXR in 2008 and the onset of the financial crisis, quickly identified the challenges faced by Danish banks in German residential as a distressed opportunity that, with sufficient capital, financial engineering experience and residential operating know-how, could provide high returns. It reworked strategy and identified Tower as a company badly needing just this help. Most of BXR’s apartment portfolio is located in either Berlin or the Wuppertal region.

Allan Saundersonis a managing editor of Property Investor Europe and a contributor to GlobeSt.com.

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