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Matrix seeks $323 mln for debt property debt fund

LONDON, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Financial services group Matrix is seeking 200 million pounds ($323 million) of equity to launch its first commercial real estate debt fund to help relieve and cash in on an extended dearth in British mortgage finance. The Matrix Commercial Mortgage Fund has been designed to exploit a shortage of available bank funding through the provision of new subordinated secured junior debt. The ungeared, six-year fund will supply debt to investors structuring real estate buys in the 50-75 percent loan-to-value range, these investors having struggled to borrow from more conventional lenders. "The European commercial property industry continues to face significant funding obstacles and ... concerns about sovereign risk have not made these any easier to overcome," said Rick Gambetta, fund manager of the Matrix Commercial Mortgage Fund. Gambetta, the former head of commercial real estate structured securitisation at part-nationalised Lloyds Banking Group, said those banks still willing and able to lend were only doing so on more conservative terms. Bank of England data published last month showed nearly half of the 244 billion pounds of outstanding UK commercial property needs to be repaid or refinanced by end-2012, creating attractive opportunities for investors willing to branch into the private debt quadrant of the capital market, Matrix said. The fund is targeting a 12 percent internal rate of return and a 6-8 percent coupon. Matrix expects to tap the equity from a range of high net worth individuals and family offices but are also talking to institutional investors keen to exploiting the imbalance between supply and demand of debt as banks face tighter capital constraints following the introduction of Basel III. (Reporting by Sinead Cruise and Daryl Loo; Editing by Andrew Macdonald) ($1=.6192 Pound) (See www.reutersrealestate.com for the global service for real estate professionals from Reuters) Keywords: MATRIX FUND/ (sinead.cruise@thomsonreuters.com; +44 (0)207 542 5154; Reuters Messaging: sinead.cruise.reuters.com@reuters.net) COPYRIGHT Copyright Thomson Reuters 2010. All rights reserved.

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