PGIM Real Estate has been awarded a new US$320m (€271.3m) real estate debt mandate to invest in Australia.

An unnamed institution has mandated PGIM Real Estate to build and manage a portfolio of whole loans and mezzanine real estate debt investments.

To help execute the mandate, PGIM Real Estate has recruited industry veteran Stephen O’Keeffe to lead its Australian real estate debt business. O’Keeffe was a senior director in the debt and structured finance team at CBRE.

The discretionary strategy will target loans of between AUD15m and AUD75m (€9.7m and €48.4m) investing in a variety of real estate sectors and across the risk spectrum, including a blend of income-producing, value-add and construction loans.

Steve Bulloch, PGIM Real Estate’s managing director and head of Australia, said: “Real estate debt is increasingly a significant part of our strategy, which has in the past largely focused on core and value-add investments.”

Since 2009, PGIM Real Estate has invested more than US$7bn across approximately 120 higher-yielding private real estate debt investments globally.

In Australia, PGIM Real Estate has completed almost AUD1bn of transactions including five high-yield real estate debt investments totalling more than AU$220m on behalf of investors in its equity funds since establishing a dedicated presence in Sydney in 2011.

PGIM Real Estate has had a presence in Asia Pacific since 1994 and had assets under management in the region of US$7.3bn as of March 31, 2018.