ING syndicates £170m Christchurch Court loan

ING Real Estate Finance has completed a syndication of the loan it underwrote for Hong Kong-based investor Hui Wing Mau’s acquisition of London’s Christchurch Court, Real Estate Capital can reveal.

ING Real Estate Finance has completed a syndication of the loan it underwrote for Hong Kong-based businessman Hui Wing Mau’s acquisition of London’s Christchurch Court, Real Estate Capital can reveal.

Japanese bank Shinsei and Bank of China have each taken a £40 million participation in the £170 million deal, with ING expected to retain the remaining £90 million.

ING underwrote the five-year senior loan to finance the £264 million purchase which completed in July. The 303,000 square foot City of London office building was the first UK property purchase by Hui Wing Mau, who chairs Hong Kong-listed Shimao Property.

The investor bought the asset, located on Paternoster Square, EC4, from Deka Immobilien in an off-market transaction. The building is entirely let to Goldman Sachs until 2025, but is subject to a tenant break option in 2020.

Christchurch Court
Christchurch Court

ING is increasingly bringing Chinese and other Asian banks into its European syndicated loans, particularly, though not exclusively, in deals with an Asian sponsor. Together with lending partner Natixis, the Dutch bank has just closed a sell down of almost €300 million of the €670 million loan which financed AEW and China Investment Corporation’s purchase of the French, Belgian and Dutch Celsius retail portfolio.

As reported by Real Estate Capital last month, the two banks brought in Bank of China as joint mandated lead arranger with a participation of more than €200 million. Now they have sold a €50 million participation to China Construction Bank, and €50 million to ING’s NN Group account. The loan agreements closed this week.

In a third syndication arranged by the Dutch lender, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) took a 50 percent participation in ING’s £130 million medium-term loan to Frogmore Real Estate Partners III, which financed the purchase of the Notting Hill Gate Estate in west London. In addition to the senior loan, ING provided a circa £10 million cap-ex facility, which it has retained.

Chinese banks are an increasing presence in the European commercial real estate market, with Bank of China, ICBC and China Construction Bank said to be keen to deploy capital in the market. They are looking to invest in debt in markets including Spain, Italy and the Netherlands, as well as core markets in the UK and France.

“The larger Chinese banks all share ambitious targets to diversify their balance sheet away from China,” said Jean-Maurice Elkouby, head of syndications for ING REF. “The European CRE market represents an attractive opportunity for them. What’s more, they do not require an Asian link to get involved.”

ING Real Estate Finance’s Louise Benisti is transferring from Paris to London to work alongside Elkouby and vice president Sofya Shuster. Benisti previously worked in project finance syndication at RBS.

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