Benson Elliot secures first French CMBS refinancing

Helaba, Crédit Foncier de France and Aareal have provided €138m for the first refinancing of securitised debt in France since the crisis began.

Benson Elliot Capital Management and joint-venture partner Générale Continentale Investissements used the five-year loan to pay off debt in Morgan Stanley’s ELoC 28 CMBS. Originally lent by the bank in February 2007, this loan expired in February 2011.

The assets – the four-building Opéra Portfolio in Paris – no longer sit within the CMBS. The facility provided by the three banks, with Helaba’s French office acting as facility and security agent, matures in March 2016. The deal took less than two months to complete.

Benson Elliot received interest from 10, mainly German, banks, but Helaba, Aareal and Crédit Foncier de France proposed the best terms. “There is real appetite for stabilised, income-producing assets, especially in Paris,” said Remi Monglon, Benson Elliot’s London-based head of French investments.

The portfolio’s flagship asset is the Opéra Italiens building in Paris’s central business district, occupied by the Ministère de la Justice. It also includes a property in the 13th district (L’Olympique) and two offices in the Issy Les Moulineaux suburb.