Fortwell Capital, the UK-based boutique bridging and development finance specialist, has been acquired in a management buyout.
The firm, previously part of Christian Candy’s CPC Group, is now owned by executive director Dan Smith and Arthur Jennings, head of real estate finance.
The MBO has involved the acquisition of the entire Fortwell platform and brand. As part of the deal the firm’s team will continue to manage CPC Group’s existing loan book of circa £120 million (€138.9 million).
Smith has been on the board of the company since 2013. Last year, he took on responsibilities from the firm’s former chief executive Colin Sanders, who left the company after six years in the role.
Jennings, for his part, joined Fortwell from Qatar National Bank in 2016, taking responsibility to manage the overall company’s development finance portfolio, including underwriting new deals.
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.
“The strategy for the future remains unchanged. Fortwell will continue to focus on medium-sized loans,” a spokesman told Real Estate Capital.
Following the MBO, Fortwell will seek new sources of equity to further grow the business and expand the loan book. The firm is currently in discussions with several potential investors.
“It continues to be a difficult market for developers to finance their projects – and as such there is significant demand for development and structured finance,” Smith said.
“That demand, coupled with Fortwell’s proven track record means we see incredible potential to continue to grow the business and the loan book, especially by partnering with new sources of capital,” he added.
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.