MetLife enters Irish lending market

MetLife Real Estate Investors has completed its first loan in Ireland, Real Estate Capital can reveal.

MetLife Real Estate Investors has completed its first loan in Ireland, Real Estate Capital can reveal.

The US life insurance group has provided Kennedy Wilson and Fairfax with €131m of senior debt to refinance a collection of Dublin assets, as the pair look to take advantage of their early entry into the resurgent Irish market which has been rapidly rising over the past two years.

Metlife croppedMetLife issued a 10-year, fixed-rate loan on three multi-family residential properties in Dublin, The Alliance, Sandford Lodge and Clancy Quay totalling 751 units. It has also provided a five-year, floating-rate loan secured against the Brooklawn House office building in Ballsbridge, also in the capital city.

The loans reflect loan-to-values in the region of 60%. Margins for prime assets in Dublin are close to 200bps. They are the first commercial mortgages in Ireland for MetLife and its first in Europe with Kennedy Wilson.

Paul Wilson, managing director and head of MetLife Real Estate Investors’ London office said: “These loans are the first for us in Ireland and we look forward to growing our portfolio in that market. We are very pleased to be able to enter a new market with a strong, experienced international player like Kennedy Wilson.”

Earlier this morning Real Estate Capital revealed that Deutsche Bank is to issue the first Irish CMBS since the downturn in the next few days.

MetLife is one of a number of large lenders on real estate who are now interested in lending in Ireland, including Wells Fargo and Allianz.

In 2014 MetLife Real Estate Investors originated more than $2.1bn in commercial mortgage loans in the United Kingdom where it had concentrated its activity since entering Europe in 2011, initially with a particular focus on London.

Its deals included a £185m joint financing of Alban Gate in the City of London for Blackstone with Wells Fargo and a £122.8m loan for Greystar for a three-asset student accommodation portfolio across London.

Kennedy Wilson completed a £1bn initial public offering last February, Kennedy Wilson Europe Real Estate, which is now its sole investment vehicle in Europe. However, it still manages a larger number of investments it made from 2011 until the IPO, including the assets it has refinanced with MetLife. It has now largely completed its asset management plans for those assets.

In Kennedy Wilson’s first interview since the IPO, Mary Ricks, president and chief executive of Kennedy Wilson Europe last month told Real Estate Capital: “We’ve sold most of what we’re going to sell [from prior to the IPO]. Those assets are very core, provide strong cashflow and we have put long-term debt on them.”

The 210-unit Alliance Building was bought in June 2012 for €40m from Ulster Bank. Brooklawn House, which comprises 45,105 sq ft of office space, was bought for €15m from IBRC in August 2012. Sandford Lodge was acquired in November 2012 for €27m and comprises 119-units from Bank of Scotland and Clancy Quay was bought in June 2013 for €82.5m, also from Bank of Scotland, which included 420 completed apartments.