GERMANY – Colonia Real Estate has nabbed Edgar Krauss from Aareal as chief investment officer in a move it hopes will boost its ambitious acquisitions strategy.

Stephan Rind, CEO of the Cologne-based firm, said Krauss’s appointment would help the firm “do more and better deals”. Krauss will also be responsible for real estate acquisitions and, according to Rind, will make financing them considerably easier.

“The company will have more capabilities to get easier access to equity capital and better financing conditions,” as a result of the appointment, he said.

Krauss joins from Aareal Bank, where he was a regional branch manager for northern and western Germany with responsibility for arranging finance for international real estate investors.

His appointment comes as Colonia gears up for a year of property and corporate acquisitions. The firm, which currently owns 4,700 apartments, plans to buy another 10,000 this year to reach what Rind describes as “a critical mass” of 12,000—15,000 residential units.

The firm is currently scouting for a German asset management firm to buy with the aim of securing €1bn assets under management by the end of 2007.

It plans to offer asset management services for third-party investors in German properties. “Because Edgar has served all international investors looking for German properties at Aareal Bank, we will be able to use these contacts for our new business field,” said Rind.

Krauss’s three-year contract will begin in July at the latest, although Colonia hopes his current employer will release him before the end of February. He replaces Christian Grosch, who leaves the management board but will continue in an operations role.