Debt Fund 25: Profiles 1-5

The top five in our ranking of Europe's biggest real estate debt fundraisers.

AXA Investment Managers – Real Assets

Capital raised: $8.86bn
Headquarters: Paris

For the second year, AXA Investment Managers – Real Assets emphatically takes the top spot as the leading fundraiser for European real estate debt strategies.

The real assets investment division of the French insurance giant raised almost $9 billion between 2015 and 2019, inclusive. In addition to this volume, its €1.5 billion CRE Senior 10 fund, which closed in 2017, is heavily weighted towards Europe, but is not included in the total as up to 25 percent can be invested in the US.

In 2005, AXA IM – Real Assets became the first non-banking institution to enter the European real estate debt market. Its strategy is focused on senior lending to core assets at conservative loan-to-value ratios. Its Europe-focused commingled funds include the €2.9 billion CRE Senior 9, which closed in 2015. The company also invests in Europe on behalf of several discretionary mandates.

Antonio de Laurentiis is head of commercial real estate private debt. In March 2020, AXA merged its alternative investment units to create AXA IM Alts, led by AXA IM – Real Assets’ chief executive Isabelle Scemama (pictured). The €87 billion AXA IM – Real Assets was combined with the €48 billion structured finance unit and its hedge fund business.

Intermediate Capital Group

Capital raised: $5.16bn
Headquarters: London

The real estate business of asset manager Intermediate Capital Group, which changed from ICG-Longbow to its parent company’s branding in April, has retained the number two spot in our ranking. Its fundraising total for 2015-19 is up from the $4.74 billion recorded in last year’s ranking.

Martin Wheeler

The UK-focused lender predominantly invests in self-originated whole loans secured against commercial property. The strategy also focuses on mezzanine loans, preferred equity and development finance. In addition, ICG has expanded into senior lending in recent years, including through its listed senior lending vehicle, ICG Senior Secured UK Property Debt Investments.

In January 2020, it announced a £500 million (€576 million) first close on its fourth senior debt vehicle. ICG-Longbow Senior Debt Programme Vintage IV is expected to reach a final close in Q4 this year, with a hard-cap set at £1 billion. Its higher-yielding lending activity was fuelled by the £928 million final close in December 2019 of its UK Real Estate Debt Investments V fund.

The company is led by co-founders Martin Wheeler (pictured) and Kevin Cooper.

BentallGreenOak

Capital raised: $3.41bn
Headquarters: New York

BentallGreenOak has broken into the top three, with $3.41 billion raised in 2015-19, inclusive. It was formed in 2019 through a merger of Bentall Kennedy and GreeanOak Real Estate. GreenOak was ranked seventh last year, with $2.68 billion raised.

Jim Blakemore
Jim Blakemore: partner at BentallGreenOak

BentallGreenOak is led by chief executive Gary Whitelaw, president Sonny Kalsi and senior managing partner John Carrafiell.

The UK and European lending business writes senior, mezzanine and whole loans, including against transitional assets and on properties subject to repositioning and redevelopment.

Per our data, the GreenOak Europe Secured Lending Fund had a final close on €600 million in December 2017. In July 2017, it closed its second UK debt vehicle, GreenOak UK Secured Lending Fund II, on £625 million (€725 million).

LaSalle Investment Management

Capital raised: $3.15bn
Headquarters: Chicago

LaSalle Investment Management is down one place from the 2019 ranking, for which it had raised $3.71 billion.

The company’s real estate debt business, led from London by head of debt and special situations, Amy Aznar (pictured), remains one of Europe’s most prominent non-bank property lenders.

LaSalle provides whole loans, mezzanine finance, development facilities, capital expenditure funding and loan acquisition funding through discretionary commingled funds, separate accounts and joint ventures.

In 2019, the firm launched its fourth flagship mezzanine lending fund, LaSalle Real Estate Debt Strategies IV, with a €1 billion target, which would make it the largest fund in the series so far. LREDS III closed on £804 million in 2017. In December 2018, it held a final close of the LaSalle Whole Loan Strategies programme on €600 million.

DRC Capital

Capital raised: $2.88bn
Headquarters: London

DRC Capital’s three founding partners – Dale Lattanzio (pictured), Rob Clayton and Cyrus Korat – launched their first debt fund in 2009, with DRC formally founded in 2012. The London-based firm is now 25 percent owned by Savills Investment Management.

DRC retains fifth place in the ranking, although its 2015-19 fundraising total is around $560 million lower than its 2014-18 total.

In its early years, DRC began by raising capital for high-yield and mezzanine lending, although it has expanded into the whole loan and senior loan markets in recent years. The firm held a final close of its £700 million (€806 million) UK Whole Loan Fund in October 2018. In addition, it has raised and invested around €600 million in its senior debt strategy.

Savills IM has the option to buy the remaining 75 percent of DRC in 2021.

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