Lord Sterling, the shipping and property magnate, has teamed up with Shore Capital, the boutique investment bank and fund manager, to advise on a new fund that will lend to, and invest in, commercial property, primarily in France and Germany. Financial Times

The new fund, which aims to raise up to $500m (£251m), is one of a growing number of vehicles seeking to capitalise on weak commercial property markets. In the UK, commercial real estate turned in its worst performance since 1991, according to the latest data from Investment Property Databank.

The vehicle, known as the Puma Opportunities Fund, will provide mezzanine finance to entrepreneurs who want to take advantage of a weaker market and find themselves unable to raise loans from traditional sources. It will also buy undervalued real estate assets directly from distressed sellers.