EUROPE – Ivanhoe Cambridge and Blackstone have increased their ownership of debt secured by shares in Gecina, a publicly traded real estate firm based in Paris.

The two investors now own a 64.7% interest in the debt, up from a 40% interest purchased in November 2012.

Meka Brunel, executive vice-president for Europe at Ivanhoe Cambridge, said: "We have been able to purchase the debt at a discounted price, which made it a very attractive deal for us. We are also pleased to team up with a company like Blackstone in a complicated transaction like this."

The capital invested by Ivanhoe Cambridge and Blackstone is just debt, although they said there might be a chance for the two investors to convert the debt into shares of Gecina at some point in future. 

Gecina manages a portfolio worth €11bn, as at the end of 2012. 

Brunel said: "They own a very strong real estate portfolio in France, which is one we wouldn't mind having an ownership stake in at some point in the future."

Most of the real estate assets (88%) controlled by Gecina are located in Paris. 

The rest are located in other cities in France. 

A large majority of the assets (69%) are office buildings, followed by residential properties (25%). 

Gecina also owns some health care properties and hotels.

The debt deal is not Ivanhoe Cambridge's first in Europe.

"We have made debt investments in the past out of our European operation," Brunel said.

"We made a debt investment secured by some real estate in London. This kind of investing is something we will continue to consider in Europe."