GREECE – Invel Real Estate, founded earlier this year by a former RREEF managing director, has carried out the largest ever property transaction in Greece by acquiring a €653m portfolio stake from the country’s national bank.

The start-up firm, founded by Chris Papachristophorou with financial backing from Israeli billionaire Beny Steinmetz, has signed a share-purchase agreement to buy a 66% interest in NBG Pangaea Real Estate Investment Company from the National Bank of Greece (NBG).

Pangaea is the largest of Greece’s real estate investment companies (REICs) – an equivalent to a real estate investment trust (REIT) – and owns 243 commercial properties and includes nearly all of the main office buildings of the Greek bank.

Pangaea’s portfolio is expected to exceed €1bn by the end of the year after more buildings are acquired and added by NBG and Invel.

The transaction has been approved by the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund, itself backed by the ECB, and the Director-General for Competition of the European Commission.

Papachristophorou, who stepped down as global head of RREEF Opportunistic Investments – now Deutsche Bank Asset & Wealth Management – at the end of 2012, said: “Invel’s material investment into the Greek real estate market demonstrates our confidence in the potential of this market and the recovery of the Greek economy overall.”

Invel, which was created in March, is targeting real estate investments that involve corporate and government restructuring, complex capital structures and asset redevelopment throughout Europe’s major real estate markets.