Hilco Global enters UK real estate debt market

The US-based financial services firm has created a bridge finance business to lend to real estate investors.

Illinois-based investment firm Hilco Global has expanded its property lending business into the UK with the creation of Hilco Real Estate Finance, a vehicle that will provide property sponsors with bridge financing facilities.

The company registered the Hilco Real Estate Finance (UK) company in May to an address in Havant, the UK, according to filings with the UK’s company register Companies House. The business is expected to start marketing for a debut fund focused on providing junior finance from next month.

Real Estate Capital Europe spoke with sources familiar with the firm who said the new entity is a subsidiary fund of Hilco Global and has access to funding through the group among other sources. The firm will look to lend against both commercial and residential real estate in the UK, they added.

Hilco Global operates as a holding company comprised of more than 20 specialised businesses through which it acts as an adviser, agent, investor and/or principal in various transactions.

In 2019, Hilco Global sold a 27.3 percent stake in the business to Canada’s largest pension and insurance fund, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. The partnership with the Canadian pension was for it to act as a “strategic investor” in capital intensive deals to support Hilco’s expansion into special situation real estate, intellectual property, and retail and consumer brands, as well as property deals.

Through the upcoming UK lending vehicle, Hilco Real Estate Finance is expected to provide short-term loans secured against real estate, with individual loans ranging between £1 million and £50 million (€1.17 million to €58 million). The firm will originate loans of up to 75 percent loan-to-value for a period of up to 24 months.

The platform is anchored by the chief executive officer and co-founder of Hilco Real Estate Finance, Brad Altberger, and chief investment officer and co-founder Max Lewis.

Before taking the role, Altberger was a London-based managing director at San Francisco-based asset management firm GI Partners, where he sat on the investment committees of funds with more than $3 billion of equity commitments.

Lewis was at global credit specialist Arrow Global where he led a specialist lending franchise.

The newly formed platform appointed former Crédit Agricole director Andrew Ward as managing director in June. Ward joined the firm from Bergen Finance, a lending subsidiary of Arrow Global Group, where he served as managing director – in charge of bridge loans secured against UK real estate, with loans up to £50 million.

Hilco Global, formerly the Hilco Trading Company, was launched in 1987 by Chicago native Jeff Hecktman, after advising his family industrial supply business on a restructuring effort. Today, Hilco Global and its more than 20 business units provide valuation, monetisation, advisory, and capital solutions services.

Hilco Global’s real estate division, Hilco Real Estate, is an advisory firm that provides disposal services for real estate assets. The firm says it does this through “multi-faceted” sales strategies and techniques, including aggressive repositioning and restructuring, using its network of buyers and sellers, and access to capital.

Hilco said it aims to help distressed owners, mainly in the US, sort out their cashflow situations, and when this is not possible it looks to help these clients dispose of real estate assets.

The firm previously had a real estate lending platform, Hilco Real Estate Finance, but sold it to New York-based private equity firm Garrison Investment Group in 2014, as reported by affiliate publication Private Debt Investor. The platform was then rebranded to Jordan Capital Finance. The transaction volume was not disclosed.

Out of the 20 plus businesses under the Hilco Global umbrella, three are dedicated to real estate: Hilco Real Estate, Hilco Redevelopment and the aforementioned Hilco Real Estate Finance.