GERMANY - Private equity firm Cerberus is to acquire German property firm Speymill Deutsche Immobilien's residential portfolio after working with the lenders to recapitalise the assets as part of a €985m debt restructuring deal. 

Ahead of the agreement announced this week with receivers Ernst & Young, the $20bn (€15.7bn) private equity firm had already injected subordinated debt and capital into the firm to pay down debt and fund refurbishment of more than 20,000 assets.

A German agent has already been hired to market the assets to private investors.

When Speymill delisted from AIM last May, it announced that adviser Citigroup Global Markets would seek a solution to the firm's debt and capital structure.

In a statement yesterday, Cerberus senior manager Lee Millstein said the transaction would benefit the lenders - a three-bank consortium led by NIBC - because it would convert non-performing loans into performing ones.

Meanwhile, investors will benefit from the turnaround of assets.

The Speymill deal is not Cerberus's first in the German market.

It previously led the restructuring of property firm GSW after acquiring it in 2004 from the state of Berlin.

More recently, in March, it was reported to have acquired 45 food retail assets for €500m.

Cerberus did not respond to requests for comment on the Speymill deal.