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Lopez leaves Cambridge for SUN group

Dennis Lopez, head of real estate at asset-backed shop Cambridge Place, has joined an emerging markets firm owned by India's Khemka family.

Dennis Lopez has left Cambridge Place Investment Management to join SUN Group as chief executive officer of its real estate activities.

Lopez, who was head of real estate and co-chairman of the real estate committee at London's Cambridge Place Investment Management, left the firm earlier this year.

According to a spokesperson for SUN Group, he has been hired to become head of SUN Real Estate.

Lopez is a big name in the real estate industry having once been a managing director and former head of real estate investment banking at JPMorgan in London.

Up until February, he was splitting his time between the Boston and London offices of Cambridge Place, which manages vehicles focused on asset-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations, among other strategies. 

According to one investor in a pan-European office fund managed by Cambridge Place, the firm has been buffeted by the dislocation in the credit markets.
 
Stephen Day, executive chairman of Australia's Valad Property Group – who also sits on the board of Cambridge's €850 million Crownstone fund – said the firm had “felt the full force of the credit crunch.”

Speaking during a published earnings presentation for Valad on February 25, Day said: “That’s because much of their (CPIM's) business is involved in structured debt products, so staff reductions have ensued in that part of the business, and some of this has spilled over into their real estate business.”

He added: “We were disappointed to hear of the departure of their real estate head, Dennis Lopez, earlier this month. Nevertheless, the remaining real estate team are largely intact, and they’re actually exceeding on business plan.”

SUN is a private investment group and private equity firm created by the Khemka family and named initials of founder Nand Khemka and his two sons, Uday and Shiv, according to a spokesperson.
 
From offices in New Delhi, Moscow, London and Johannesburg, the firm employs 150 professionals primarily focussed on Russia and India as well as other emerging and transforming markets in the energy, mining, real estate, infrastructure and technology sectors.
 
According to its website, the firm has been active in Russia since 1958. One of its greatest achievements to date has been to build SUN Brewing/SUN Interbrew into the twelfth largest beer company in the world. Recently the firm revealed plans to build several hydro electric power plants in India in conjunction with Russian firm, RusHydro which was formed in 2004 during Russia's reform and unbundling of its electricity monopoly.

The Kempka familky has been investing privately in real estate for decades but it has branched out to become a fund sponsor.

It invests in real estate directly often as a fund sponsor and often with strategic partners. Last year it raised $630 million (€485 million) for the SUN-Apollo India Real Estate fund, a vehicle partnered by New York-based Apollo Real Estate Advisors.