AXA Real Estate’s debt arm reaches into infrastructure

AXA Real Estate is building on the success of its around €7.2bn commercial real estate debt business to expand in the infrastructure debt market.

AXA insurance companies have awarded AXA Real Estate a €10bn mandate to source and manage investments.

The five-year programme is led by Charles Dupont, who has experience from the various sides of the business as AXA Real Estate’s head of investor relations for commercial real estate finance.

He will report to AXA Real Estate’s Isabelle Scemama, who now has the title head of real asset finance.

Two new appointments have been made for the combined 18-strong division. It will grow to 20 people by the end of July and to 24 or 25 by the end of the year.

The new platform will underwrite loans up to €500m, but more typically in the €100m- 200m range. It will also buy loans on the secondary market from banks, and is open to co-origination.

“We will book a loan either on the balance sheet or in vehicles, driven by the regulatory and size constraints each of those insurance companies may have,” said Scemama.

AXA has a pipeline of deals in five northern European countries, including the UK, involving roads, other transpor­tation and gas transmission investments.

“We’ve also started to invest in more pure infrastructure assets like utilities, energy and transmission,” she added.

The group wants to diversify its credit allocation to match the guarantees it offers clients and infrastructure debt meets its long-term investment needs.