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Axa Real Estate Raises $1.8 Billion for Europe Property Lending

Axa Real Estate Investment Managers has raised 1.4 billion euros ($1.8 billion) for commercial property loans in Europe and plans to lend 2.4 billion euros this year.

Fundraising this year will increase Axa Real Estate’s debt program to about 7 billion euros, the unit of Paris-based Axa SA said in a statement. The company plans to secure about 2 billion euros of investment capacity this year, it said.

More than 580 billion euros of European commercial property loans mature this year and next, real estate broker DTZ estimates. Non-bank lenders such as Axa Real Estate may lend as much as $75 billion for property in the region through 2013, the broker estimates.

“The retreat, and in some instances the withdrawal altogether, of traditional senior lenders in the property market has accelerated further throughout 2012, making the supply/demand imbalance more acute,” Isabelle Scemama, Axa’s head of commercial property said in the statement.

Axa has been buying up property debt from other lenders, including the 800 million-euro purchase of a portfolio from Societe Generale SA in June, according to the statement.

Axa had focused on the U.K. and French markets and is now looking to lend in Germany, the Netherlands, the Nordic countries and Switzerland, it said in the statement.

“To be active on this market, you need large investment capacity,” Scemama said in an August interview. “It’s an exciting time for us.”

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