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Europe’s Top 50 Lenders 2021: The Alternative Lenders, Part 1

In the third part of our annual list of the continent's leading property lenders, we look at the alternative debt providers that made gains in 2021.

abrdn

  • Senior, whole loan lender

  • Active in UK

  • Lending in 2020: €500m

  • Lending in 2021 to end Q3: €450m

  • Loan book at end Q3 2021: €2bn

The organisation previously known as Aberdeen Standard Investments focuses on UK lending and has closed multiple loans in 2021. They include a €70 million, three-year whole loan in January against 13 properties, including offices, industrial and retail parks, for a private equity firm. In August, it provided a UK property company with a €70 million, fixed-rate loan for a regional office portfolio. In September, it closed a €45 million, 30-year fixed-rate loan to a private family office for a central London residential portfolio. In July, abrdn told Real Estate Capital Europe it was changing its real estate lending policy to offer all borrowers a margin discount if they invest in their assets and improve their sustainability during the loan term.

AEW

  • Senior, mezzanine, whole loan, development lender

  • Active across Europe

  • Lending in 2020: €255m

  • Lending in 2021 to end Q3: €250m

  • Loan book at end Q3 2021: €1.5bn

AEW’s debt team is due to take over a loan portfolio from a French insurance company which, along with deals in closing, will increase its debt platform to €2.4 billion by year-end. In H2, it participated in a €440 million green refinancing of a pan-European office portfolio, following its acquisition by an Asian investor. The loan, written at around 60 percent loan-to-value, has a 225 basis-point margin. Other deals included the co-arrangement of a €30 million speculative development financing to Clarion Partners of a logistics property near Paris, alongside a local bank. In March, AEW was co-arranger of a €48 million, four-year loan to investor Blue Colibri Capital to finance the Mozaic office property in Paris.

AgFe

Senior, whole loan lender

Active in UK, France, Netherlands, Germany

Lending in 2020: €255m

Lending in 2021 to end Q3: €395m

Loan book at end Q3 2021: €1.8bn

The UK asset manager has been particularly active in its home market. It provided a £51.6 million acquisition facility in March to a UK property company for a social housing portfolio. The loan was AgFe’s second in the sector. In May, it provided £29 million to refinance a multi-let office property in Cardiff for a club of private investors, despite the uncertainty around demand for regional office space due to the pandemic. In April, it wrote a £30 million residential and retail financing for a family office based in the southwest of England, consolidating several lending relationships into a single long-term facility. AgFe uses an ESG scorecard to benchmark the strengths and weaknesses of existing and new lending opportunities.

AIG

  • Dublin docklands: AIG has financed new development

    Senior, mezzanine, whole loan, development, loan-on-loan lender

  • Active across Europe

  • Lending in 2020: €1bn

  • Lending in 2021 to end Q3: €1.4bn

  • Loan book at end Q3 2021: €8.5bn

In December 2020, after the cut-off for the last top lenders list, AIG closed a significant loan in Dublin, providing Kennedy Wilson with long-term development finance for the Coopers Cross scheme, where 472 multi-family units are due to be completed by the end of 2023. Among the US insurer’s €1.4 billion of loans during Q1-Q3 was another significant Irish development facility. In May, it provided Irish property firm Marlet with €147 million for Dublin’s Grand Canal Harbour scheme, which is to comprise 596 apartments, 76,000 square feet of retail, plus clinical and co-working office space.

Allianz Real Estate

Senior, whole loan, development lender

Active in Germany, France, UK, Ireland, Belgium, Spain, Austria, Italy, Czech Republic, Poland, Sweden, Netherlands

Lending in 2020: €1.9bn

Lending in 2021 to end Q3: €1.1bn

Loan book at end Q3 2021: €10.8bn

The German insurer is writing more short- and medium-term loans for transitional properties, which accounted for 55 percent of 2021 lending to the end of Q3. It has also focused on sustainable assets. In March, it provided 78 percent of a €185 million loan to low-carbon developer Icawood for a mixed-use wood structured scheme in Paris. In April, it provided a £140 million green loan to Canary Wharf Group for 10 George Street in London – its first European private rented sector single-asset debt deal. In August, it provided BentallGreenOak with a £240 million green loan for the development of eight ‘build-to-core’ logistics assets in the UK.

Amundi

  • Senior lender

  • Active across Europe

  • Lending in 2020: €341m

  • Lending in 2021 to end Q3: €310m

  • Loan book at end Q3 2021: €1.2bn

The French manager has closed a series of senior financing deals this year of between €45 million and €85 million. They include a financing for an Italian family office for a portfolio of prime retail assets in Milan and Rome; a participation in a club financing of a pan-European office portfolio for an Asian sovereign wealth fund, backed by assets in Dublin, Munich, Utrecht and Warsaw; and the financing of luxury residential assets close to Paris’s Champs-Élysées. Amundi raised almost €200 million of additional capital for its commingled fund, ACREL, in H1, leading to a final commitment of close to €450 million – higher than the target. It also secured a €500 million separate account commitment from a French insurer.

Apollo Global Management

  • Millénaire 1, Paris: Apollo financed Brookfield property (source: Brookfield Asset Management)

    Senior, mezzanine, whole loan, development lender

  • Active in Western Europe

  • Lending in 2020: €832m

  • Lending in 2021 to end Q3: €2.8bn

  • Loan book at end Q3 2021: €7.2bn

At the end of Q3, Apollo was expecting deals in closing to bring 2021’s lending total to €4.5 billion thus far. In March, it provided Blackstone with SKr5.2 billion (€523 million) of a SKr10.2 billion loan to acquire 132 logistics properties in Sweden. In May, it provided Brookfield with €161.3 million to acquire the Millénaire 1 office complex in Paris. In June, it provided Tristan Capital Partners with €437.5 million for the acquisition of 52 German properties from Summit Real Estate. In July, it provided developer Marlet with €162 million of construction finance for the mixed-use College Square scheme in Dublin.

ARA Venn

  • Senior, mezzanine, whole loan lender

  • Active in UK, northern Europe, Spain

  • Lending in 2020: €1.1bn

  • Lending in 2021 to end Q3: €881m

  • Loan book at end Q3 2021: €4.4bn

The London-based lender’s €881 million of 2021 loans to the end of Q3 comprised €832 million of whole loans and €49 million of senior finance. In its capacity as delivery partner for the UK government’s £3.5 billion private rented sector loans programme, funded by a government-guaranteed bond, it provided £37 million in May for an east London housing scheme, financing the lease-up period. In March, it provided £30.5 million to an international private equity fund for the purchase of an office and industrial asset in London, which the sponsor plans to regenerate as a mixed-use scheme. In December 2020, ARA Venn provided a €27.7 million whole loan to a European private equity sponsor for the construction of a 651-unit PRS portfolio in Spain.

AustralianSuper

  • Mezzanine, development, preferred equity lender

  • Active in UK, Benelux, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Nordics

  • Lending in 2020: €181m

  • Lending in 2021 to end Q3: €1bn

  • Loan book at end Q3 2021: €1.2bn

The Melbourne-headquartered pension fund has increased European mezzanine and development lending. It entered the market via a mandate with Nuveen in 2018, but the mandate has now ended, and it is lending directly. Its direct deals have included a €500 million, two-tranche subordinated financing to a pan-European logistics platform for three years, with a 75 percent loan-to-value cap, closed in May and August. In May, it provided Brookfield with £81 million of mezzanine, at 72 percent LTV for the acquisition of nine UK retail parks. In September 2021, it provided a £165 million whole loan refinancing and bridge-to-sale loan to a CBRE-managed residential-led development in London.

Aviva Investors

  • Manchester: Aviva provided £276 million of debt to Bruntwood

    Senior lender

  • Active in UK, France, Germany, Benelux

  • Lending in 2020: €633m

  • Lending in 2021 to end Q3: €1.2bn

  • Loan book at end Q3 2021: €10.5bn

In December 2020, Aviva committed to writing £1 billion of ‘climate transition’ loans by 2025. That month it launched its Sustainable Transition Loans Framework and has since reported completing €564 million in sustainability-linked loans. In April, it closed a £72.9 million, seven-year loan for Commercial Estates Group, structured to include sustainability KPIs that determine a margin reduction. In June, it provided Bruntwood with a £276 million, 15-year sustainability-linked loan. Other loans included £184.7 million in March to Alberta Investment Management Corporation for 16 UK industrial assets.

AXA IM Alts

  • Broadgate estate: AXA participated in a £420 million refinancing

    Senior lender

  • Active in UK, France, Benelux, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain

  • Lending in 2020: €510m

  • Lending in 2021 to end Q3: €932m

  • Loan book at end Q3 2021: €10.8bn

If Paris-headquartered AXA maintains its real estate lending activity throughout the fourth quarter, it will comfortably double the volume of its 2020 European debt investment. It was a key participant in one of London’s major office refinancing transactions this year. In June, it partnered with DBS Bank and Crédit Agricole for a £420 million, five-year refinancing of British Land and GIC’s 100 Liverpool Street. The building, part of the wider Broadgate estate in the City, was completed in January and comprises 433,000 square feet of offices, 90,000 square feet of shops, plus restaurants.

Barings Real Estate Advisers

  • Senior, whole loan, development lender

  • Active in UK, Ireland, Spain, Germany, Netherlands

  • Lending in 2020: €425m

  • Lending in 2021 to end Q3: €975m

  • Loan book at end Q3 2021: €3.4bn

Barings’ 2021 lending to the end of Q3 comprised €616 million of senior loans, €237 million of whole loans, and €122 million of development finance. Its deals included a £140 million, eight-year, fixed-rate loan at 42 percent loan-to-value to fund the acquisition of two London student housing assets for the London Student Accommodation Venture, a joint venture between Unite Group and Singaporean investor GIC. It provided a three-year, €37 million, 70 percent loan-to-cost whole loan to fund KKR and Palm Logistics’ acquisition of six last-mile logistics assets in Dublin. Also in the logistics sector, it provided a £52 million loan to Sunrise Real Estate, which in part funds the speculative construction of two UK assets.

BentallGreenOak

  • Arding & Hobbs: BGO is funding its repositioning

    Senior, whole loan lender

  • Active in UK, Germany, Netherlands, Nordics, Ireland, France, Italy, Spain

  • Lending in 2020: c.€850m

  • Lending in 2021 to end Q3: c.€600m

  • Loan book at end Q3 2021: c.€2.5bn

In August, the US manager provided £55 million to developer W.RE for the redevelopment of the 137-year-old former Arding & Hobbs department store in south London into new offices and retail. In another example of BGO financing a value-add project, it provided a €70 million senior loan to finance the acquisition and redevelopment of a vacant office building in Amsterdam into a new, carbon-neutral office and residential scheme. It also provided a £60 million senior loan to finance the speculative development of a 1 million square foot-plus logistics portfolio in the UK.

Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies

  • Senior, mezzanine, whole loan, development lender

  • Active in Western Europe, Southern Europe, Nordics

  • Lending in 2020: €1bn

  • Lending in 2021 to end Q3: €4.3bn

  • Loan book at end Q3 2021: €10.6bn

BREDS says 2021 is due to be a record year for European lending. At the end of Q3, it said it expected deals due to close in the fourth quarter to bring the year’s total to
€5.9 billion. In February, it provided £426 million to Brookfield for the development of the 1 Leadenhall office tower in the City of London. In July, it provided €320 million to Oaktree developer Johnny Ronan, and Ireland’s National Asset Management Agency to acquire 37.2 acres in Dublin – the city’s largest vacant site, earmarked for 3.5 million square feet of development. During the pandemic, BREDS launched a logistics lending programme for small and medium-sized loans; it has closed or agreed terms on 21 such deals, totalling €1.7 billion.

Brunswick Real Estate Capital

  • Stockholm: Brunswick’s home city

    Senior lender

  • Active in Sweden

  • Lending in 2020: €412m

  • Lending in 2021 to end Q3: €215m

  • Loan book at end Q3 2021: €1.3bn

Brunswick has become a key lender in its home market of Sweden. It lends according to a green framework devised in 2019. In June, it provided €81 million to a listed sponsor against six office properties subject to a green business plan. In May, it provided €41 million to a private real estate company for three residential and office properties and to refinance its entire debt structure, including a bond. Also in May, it provided €68 million for an industrial portfolio. In October, it closed an additional SKr1 billion (€110 million) for its third senior debt fund, bringing it to equivalent to €1.3 billion.

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