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Investors in distressed debt these days are rather like whalers of old, riding the stormy seas of today’s market, looking through the fog and rain for an opportunity to harpoon. Oft en there’s little certainty in the fog. You might find a whale of a deal or a handful of little fish. However, no matter how bad visibility gets, there is a great big school of refinancing needs swarming up from all the underwater properties: estimates suggest more than $900 billion in commercial real estate loans will need to be refinanced through 2012 due to maturity dates (either original or extended).

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