SocGen restarts foreign lending with £500m UK target

Société Générale has returned to real estate lending outside France and has a £500m-plus target for the UK this year.

The French bank quit new lending in the UK and continental Europe in late 2011. It subsequently sold off almost €3bn of legacy property loans as it sought to meet European Central Bank Core Tier 1 capital requirements.

Head of commercial real estate Jerome Gatipon-Bachette and co-head of real estate structured finance Arnaud de Jaegere are in the driving seat, while Pierpaolo Iasci is responsible for loan syndication.

A key part of the bank’s business plan is to distribute 70-80% of each loan it writes in order to recycle capital.

SocGen expects to close a few deals before the summer and is targeting financings of assets such as shopping centres and logistics portfolios.

At the end of last year, SocGen arranged a £135m financing of 200 Aldersgate in the City of London for Ashby Capital, selling on the debt to AXA Real Estate.

The money to lend against real estate assets comes from the business’s investment bank balance sheet, which only lent in France last year.

The bank’s target markets have now been expanded to France, Benelux, the UK, Germany, Italy and Eastern Europe.