German property group Hamborner has converted to a REIT, possible signalling that Europe's transformation to a REIT model could gain pace. Based in Duisburg in western Germany, Hamborner REIT focuses on investment in high street retail, shopping centers and offices. It is now shopping for acquisitions and planning to raise fresh capital.

Rüdiger Mrotzek, one of Hamborner's two executive board members, says he is negotiating a number of deals worth about €100m that could be concluded within the next few weeks. "We plan to spend €10m to €130m on acquisitions this year and then we will have to raise capital in 2011," Mrotzek says.

Hamborner is the first company to list or convert to REIT status in Europe since the financial crisis forced property companies to put REIT plans on the shelf.

Wall Street Journal