Cain buys majority stake in Fortwell

The real estate investor has injected £400m of capital into the UK specialist lender.

Cain International has acquired a majority stake in Fortwell Capital, providing a capital injection of £400 million (€449 million) into the UK-based boutique bridging and development finance specialist.

Cain, which invests in real estate through both equity and debt, has also bought a portfolio of development loans providing total facilities of circa £80 million, which Fortwell will continue to manage.

The partnership will enable Fortwell to continue to expand its loan book, as it seeks to invest across multiple sectors, as well as expand its reach to a range of UK cities and regions, besides London and the South East markets, the firm said.

Cain, for its part, will enter the specialist market for small- and medium-sized loans under the Fortwell brand, said John Cole, managing principal at Cain and head of the firm’s global debt business.

“Together, we will now provide access to real estate finance for developers across the full spectrum of loan sizes and products,” Cole added.

The news follows the announcement in April that Fortwell Capital’s senior management team, consisting of executive director Dan Smith and managing director Arthur Jennings, had conducted a management buyout of the business from Christian Candy’s CPC Group.

As part of the deal, the Fortwell team continued to manage CPC Group’s existing loan book of circa £120 million. Following the MBO, Fortwell said it was seeking new sources of equity to further grow the business and expand its loan book.

The partnership with Cain will help propel the firm forward, Smith said, as it provides the funding to allow Fortwell to continue financing “complex projects throughout the market cycles”.

In 2016, Fortwell rebranded from Omni Capital Partners, with the aim to increase the volume of its development lending.

The firm has since transitioned from a small-ticket bridge lender into a development and structured finance specialist, focusing on medium-sized loans of £10 million to £50 million. Through the restructuring of the business, Fortwell also expanded its capability across multiple sectors.

Fortwell has lent more than £1.2 billion since it started operations in 2011. In January 2018 alone, the firm lent £60 million to finance three separate development projects.