Private equity firm EQT Partners is stepping into real estate investment, recruiting the founders of UK property company Wainbridge to launch the initiative.

EQT, which has so far avoided investing in the sector, will invest in opportunistic and value-added real estate.

The firm has recruited Edouard Fernandez and Rob Rackind to set up a European platform.

The pair will become partners in EQT, the firm said.

“There are new real estate opportunities opening up across Europe,” Racking said. “From the EQT platform, we can add a fresh approach when investigating business possibilities.”

The Swedish firm has raised €22bn for private equity investments since its creation in 1994 by SEB, Investor AB and US-based AEA Investors.

Insurance companies, pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, funds-of-funds and family offices have all backed EQT in the past, according to its website.

Lennart Blecher, EQT deputy managing partner and head of infrastructure, said: “The real estate segment has long been dominated by North American private equity firms. There is a market opportunity for a pan-European player, applying opportunistic and value-add strategies.”

EQT said it has also recruited Fredrik Elwing as a director.

Elwing left his role as managing director in Greenhill & Co’s Real Estate Capital Advisory group in July last year, according to reports at the time.