Apollo Real Estate Advisors, the private equity fund manager, has created a European commercial property debt division to take advantage of distress among lenders to the sector. Financial Times

The US investor has acquired a European business and is in the process of raising a fund of up to $1bn to originate its own loans and buy deeply discounted property debt from banks that are no longer able to securitise loans.

Indeed, almost all the large private equity firms have turned into aggressive buyers of distressed debt in recent months.

For Apollo, which made its name partly in distressed debt trading in the property downturn of the early 1990s, it represents a return to its roots. For others, such as Blackstone it represents a different approach.