REAL ESTATE – Behind the glitz of the recent MIPIM annual real estate industry event in Cannes, there were global real estate asset managers imbued with renewed zeal to pursue relationships and deals with investors and suppliers.

Talk of MIPIM becoming a self-congratulatory champagne-fest proved well wide of the mark and the productivity boost should help MIPIM make up some ground on its Munich-based rival Expo Real.

DTZ executive Stephen Clues said: “On the surface you see lots of people having a pleasant time, but I can assure you that in the backrooms of boats and in hotel rooms along La Croisette there is plenty of serious negotiation and deals being done.”

If a prize were to be awarded for attention seeking, it would have been won by RREEF, the re-branded Deutsche Bank real estate operation. It had a yacht moored full view of La Croisette, with a large company banner hung from an upper deck.

Chief executive Chuck Leitner said: “This high profile presence is out of character for us and some people within the company are uncomfortable with it. But the RREEF re-branding is such a big thing we really wanted to bring it to the attention of as many MIPIM visitors as possible.

Shaun Mays, RREEF’s global infrastructure head said: “Everyone is facing the same issue: governments are finding it politically impossible to raise the capital required for infrastructure creation or renewal through taxation. But the emotional outbursts in the media concerning public/private partnerships have obscured the real issues and the attractiveness of infrastructure as a medium- to long-term home for institutional capital.”

RREEF recently launched a pan-European infrastructure fund which has its first closing at the end of April. The aim was to raise equity of €800m and the fund manager expects it to be oversubscribed to the tune of around €150m.

Within the main exhibition areas over 2,000 exhibitors recreated a proxy global marketplace for inward investment. Russia and east Europe were particularly well represented although some of the area and city names required a double-take and the knowledge of a cartographer to identify.

Headlining the Middle East’s presence were Dubai International Properties and Dubai Sports Village. Aamir Khan, a sales consultant with the village, was able to confirm that the long-awaited property law enabling foreign ownership of properties in designated areas had been issued. This is being viewed as a key stepping-stone to creating an institutional investment market within the Emirates.

Khan pointed out that the new ruler of Dubai is the man who proposed and drafted the law so the recent royal succession actually helped rather than hindered the legislative process.