European asset and investment manager CR has hired real estate banker Stéphane Adolf from Hypothekenbank Frankfurt, part of Commerzbank, as it positions itself to lend in the European property market.
Adolf will join CR as managing director of special situations and mid-market lending, two areas of activity which the company is aiming to grow. CR said that it plans to expand its lending activities in the next two years, with the aim of launching a platform in conjunction with a capital partner.
To date, CR’s involvement in real estate lending has been through co-investment in mandates and acting as facility agent in deals. It now aims to establish a formal lending operation.
The company said that it sees the opportunity to target commercial real estate markets with “favourable credit conditions, but which are under-served, due both to the scaling-back of traditional lenders’ commercial real estate businesses and a scarcity of new entrants”.
CR’s plan is to source and fund senior, stretched senior, mezzanine and junior real estate loans.
Its mid-market lending will focus on loans within a range of €5 million to €50 million. Special situations lending will focus on more complex and bespoke financings, such as transitional assets, ranging between €25 million and €100 million.
The firm plans to originate loans as well as source them from the secondary market, including from deleveraging banks and lenders.
Adolf spent 21 years at Hypothekenbank Frankfurt, formerly known as Eurohypo and owned by Commerzbank. His most recent role was head of commercial real estate for international markets, where he had senior responsibility for origination and previously risk management. He will be based in CR’s Frankfurt office but will be active across Europe.
CR also recently hired former Citi banker Stuart Hoare to head the group’s debt advisory business. Hoare’s remit includes debt and equity advisory and placement across Europe.
CR’s other activities include asset management, transaction advisory, performing and non-performing loan acquisition and servicing, as well as private equity strategies. The firm has eight offices across Europe.
“Loan pools acquired post-crisis equates to over €150 billion. However the path to the ultimate refinancing of individual underlying positions is often difficult due to the lack of broad-based debt financing for anything other than prime core assets,” said CR founder and managing director Jacob Lyons.
“CR sees this as an opportunity to combine its expertise in sourcing and robust credit underwriting to selectively provide financing on an opportunistic risk-adjusted basis, across two distinct strategies,” he added.