EUROPE - Prudential Real Estate Investors (PREI) has hired a team of real estate financers to build a commercial property mezzanine platform in Europe to take advantage of immediate opportunities created by the volatile markets.

Pramerica has taken over the team at Paramount Private Equity LLP, founded by Andrew Radkiewicz and Andrew Macland - two former real estate heads at N M Rothschild & Sons in London - and which focuses on structuring and managing debt and mezzanine investments in European real estate markets.

PREI believes the banking sector's holding on real estate financing markets will shrink as a result of regulatory changes and will create long-term opportunities for its business.

PREI has invested $3.2bn (€2.5bn) in mezzanine debt over the last five years and had over $46.8bn in gross real estate assets on 30 September 2008.

The new team, made up by Paramount Private Equity directors Radkiewicz and Macland and consultants Mathew Crowther and Brian Scally, is designed to compliment PREI's mezzanine strategy in the US.

PREI is the real investment management and advisory business of Prudential Financial, and now has over $602bn in assets under management.

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