Bank is due credit on GPT debt deal

It is not the 1990s again, but bank sales and restructurings are gathering pace. This month, Hansteen’s Ian Watson and Morgan Jones have pulled off their own “German Industrious” by clinching the old GPT Halverton portfolio in Germany.

Just as Nick Leslau pounced on the distressed UK Industrious deal, in which many parties lost their shirts, the duo has bought a large industrial portfolio that destroyed its previous owners’ equity.

They appear to have bought it with debt even cheaper than Leslau’s and at a much higher loan-to-value ratio, when it would be impossible to get a loan in the open market on such terms, if at all, for a portfolio of this size and secondary quality.

Incumbent lender UniCredit effectively agreed a ‘soft’ loan to salvage its position. It may have been lucky that the perfect buyers came along with cash burning a hole in their pockets, and it may have had little choice but to instigate a sale last summer when GPT announced it was throwing in the towel in Europe.

But the bank deserves credit for keeping a large number of parties on side for nine difficult months and seeing it all through. And just in the nick of time, as far as the properties and the income are concerned.

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