EUROPE - Orion Capital Managers has closed the capital raising programme for its latest European opportunity fund, breaking its publicly-stated fundraising target of €1bn.

Orion European Real Estate Fund III, which has capital commitments from a number of US and European pension and endowment funds, has raised a total €1.28bn in equity and is a direct follow-on from the firm's previous two funds, from which the fund manager divested 80% of assets prior to the onset of the credit crunch in 2007.

Orion has the ability to invest in the full spectrum of real estate assets, stretching to loans, portfolios, and real estate companies across Europe.

Its latest fund has to date acquired or committed to four transactions in France and Spain totalling over €300m in equity, including the purchase of one of Spain's largest malls, the 70,000 square metre Plenilunio Centre in Madrid for €235m, which it bought from Santander's real estate fund.

Orion also recently entered into a joint venture with Colony Capital to acquire a portion of the €4.2bn syndicated loan in Immobilaria Colonial from Goldman Sachs.

"Orion is fortunate to have the support of a wide range of investors from around the world. Our organisation is focused on larger asset and portfolio acquisitions in the major western European markets," said Van Stults, a founding partner of Orion Capital Managers.

Founding partner Aref Lahham added: "We were significant net sellers in 2006 and 2007. Therefore, Orion is well-positioned to be acquiring the attractive larger portfolio transactions. We are now seeing as a result of the market pressures."