Real Estate Capital Europe’s Active Lenders 2023: Alternative lenders, Part 1

Part three of our guide to the finance providers making their mark in Europe.

Abrdn

Senior lender
Active in UK

Lending in 2022: €350m
Lending in 2023 to end Q3: €236m
Loan book at end Q3 2023: €2.2bn

The UK manager reported €236 million of new, senior investment loans in the first nine months of 2023. In April, it provided an £85 million, 50 percent LTV loan to finance a portfolio of six big-box logistics assets located across the UK. In July, it provided a £50 million financing of a portfolio of multi-let industrial assets, located across the UK, in a 55 percent LTV transaction. In September, it closed a £50 million retail warehouse portfolio financing at 40 percent LTV.

AllianceBernstein

Senior, mezzanine, whole loan, development, preferred equity, loan-on-loan lender
Active across Europe

Lending in 2022: €250m
Lending in 2023 to end Q3: €537m
Loan book at end Q3 2023: €1.15bn

The US manager’s 2023 European property lending to the end of Q3 was weighted towards acquisition financing. In January, it provided a £138 million acquisition financing for a newly constructed, 161-unit residential building for Goldman Sachs’ Riverstone retirement living platform. In May, the firm purchased a 49 percent interest in an Irish non-performing loan platform, managed by Earlsfort Capital Partners and alongside Castlelake as joint venture partner. In September, it also provided a €75 million acquisition facility to a European private equity sponsor for the aggregation and renovation of a German hotel portfolio. In November, it provided a £96 million acquisition and development financing for Greystar’s Crown Trading Estate, a 318-unit build-to-rent scheme in Hayes, Greater London.

Amundi Asset Management

Senior, development lender
Active across Europe

Lending in 2022: €250m
Lending in 2023 to end Q3: €350m
Loan book at end Q3 2023: €1.8bn

The French manager’s lending for 2023 to the end of Q3 amounted to €350 million and comprised senior debt focused on eurozone countries. Fifteen percent of the total was for development financing. In Q2, it sourced and arranged a €40 million financing of a high-end retail portfolio located across Milan and Rome. In the same quarter, it provided a €42 million participation in a green loan for an Italian logistics portfolio. It also provided more than €40 million in a Q3 financing in the hospitality sector in Germany.

Apollo Global Management

Senior, mezzanine, whole loan, development lender
Active in UK, Western Europe

Lending in 2022: €3.8bn
Lending in 2023 to end Q3: €389m
Loan book at end Q3 2023: €9bn

Following a huge 2022 lending volume, the US firm’s 2023 volume was considerably smaller. However, with €389 million of new senior debt originated by the end of Q3, it remained an active lender. In September, Apollo provided a £251 million, 53-month floating rate senior loan to Cain International to finance the construction of five student housing schemes across the UK. In September, it provided €41 million to refinance Via Verra 5, a retail property in Milan’s fashion district, leased to Gucci and Missoni. Since the end of Q3, and not in the above numbers, Apollo provided a €118.9 million, five-year floating rate senior loan to US firm Carlyle Group for the acquisition of Locabox, a French self-storage company.

ARA Europe

Senior, mezzanine, whole loan, development lender
Active in UK, Ireland, Spain, France, Netherlands, Germany

Lending in 2022: €195m
Lending in 2023 to end Q3: €236m
Loan book at end Q3 2023: €516m

Around two-thirds of this year’s lending by ARA, part of Hong Kong-listed ESR Group, was new originations, with the remainder accounted for by refinancings. Development facilities accounted for €58 million, and €114 million was in whole loans in which ARA funds took mezzanine positions. In May, it provided finance, alongside senior lender Deutsche Hypo, to facilitate a 130,000-square-foot green office refurbishment in Birmingham. In August, it provided senior financing to managers Veld Capital and FREO for the refurbishment of a property in the 17th arrondissement of Paris. In June, it provided whole loan financing to residential investor AMRO Partners for the development of a 160-bed student housing asset in Salamanca.

Ares Management

Senior, mezzanine, whole loan, development, preferred equity lender
Active in UK, Western Europe, Nordics

Lending in 2022: €650m
Lending in 2023 to end Q3: c€1bn
Loan book at end Q3 2023: c€1.7bn

In March, the US private equity firm closed one of the UK’s most notable refinancing deals at that point in the year. It provided a £300 million senior refinancing of two central London assets – retailer Burberry’s global flagship store on New Bond Street, and the 601-bedroom, four-star Hilton London Kensington hotel. In March, it also provided a £168 million loan to investment firm GreenPoint Partners for the acquisition of the Chariot Portfolio of 37 UK car parks, on which the buyer is aiming to develop a portfolio of logistics assets. In October, Ares provided the European element of a €750 million global refinancing of Queensgate Investments’ Generator Group hospitality platform, backing €440 million for the European business.

Aukera Real Estate

Senior, whole loan, development lender
Active across Europe with a focus on DACH countries and Benelux

Lending in 2022: €413m
Lending in 2023 to end Q3: €528m
Loan book at end Q3 2023: €1.5bn

Essen-based Aukera continued to grow its market presence this year. Lending was 71 percent weighted towards investment loans, with the remainder in development facilities. Forty percent was for refinancing. In July, it provided a €150 million development loan for a five-star hotel, to be used to finish construction works and provide five-years of stabilised financing. In July, it also provided a €154.3 million, seven-year senior loan to Dutch firm Metroprop for a portfolio of more than 65 properties in the Netherlands. In the same month, it provided a €60 million loan for a student housing project in Tilburg, Netherlands, to be delivered in January 2024. Deals also included a €130 million ‘bridge-to-exit’ financing for the completion of a mixed-use Luxembourg development.

Aviva Investors

Senior lender
Active in UK

Lending in 2022: €612m
Lending in 2023 to end Q3: €330m
Loan book at end Q3 2023: €9.7bn

The asset management arm of UK insurance group Aviva originated £288 million in loans in the first three quarters of 2023, though largely concentrated in one major London deal. In August, the firm provided a 10-year, £200 million loan to UK property firm Shaftesbury Capital, secured against a portfolio located in and around London’s Carnaby Street. The facility will sit alongside existing secured term loans from Aviva of £130 million and £120 million. Elsewhere, in July, it provided a further £57 million loan facility to Urban Logistics REIT, continuing a lending arrangement that began in 2021. The facility was secured by 10 logistics assets, and featured sustainability targets aligned to its Sustainable Transition Loan Framework.

AXA IM Alts

Senior, whole loan, development lender
Active in France, Germany, UK, Benelux, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Nordics

Lending in 2022: €1.8bn
Lending in 2023 to end Q3: €500m
Loan book at end Q3 2023: €11.5bn

The investment management arm of French insurer AXA was tight-lipped on its 2023 deals, although it confirmed it provided €500 million of commercial real estate debt in European markets in the first three quarters. One transaction it is known to have participated in is the £300 million funding of an upcoming phase at the UK’s Harwell Science and Innovation Campus, owned by Brookfield and the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council. The insurer partnered with Deutsche Bank and BNP Paribas in the deal. In 2023, the CRE debt team launched a dedicated CRE Enhanced Fund, a closed-end strategy focused on building a portfolio of enhanced return debt focused on Europe, particularly on financing capex projects to refurbish assets to ESG standards.

BGO

Senior, mezzanine, whole loan, development lender
Active in UK, Germany, Netherlands, Nordics, Ireland, selectively in France, Italy, Spain

Lending in 2022: €767m
Lending in 2023 to end Q3: €650m
Loan book at end Q3 2023: €5bn

The US manager’s 2023 transactions included a £130 million senior loan to a joint venture between manager Nuveen Real Estate and developer Apache Capital for the acquisition and development of a build-to-rent project in Cambridge, UK. The scheme forms part of the wider North West Cambridge masterplan. The firm also provided a €40 million senior loan to finance the development of a logistics facility in Helsinki, targeting BREEAM ‘Excellent’. In September, it provided a €115 million senior loan to refinance a portfolio of Dutch high street retail assets for Castlelake, in which BGO refinanced a European CMBS transaction.

Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies

Senior, mezzanine, whole loan, development lender
Active across Western Europe and Nordics primarily

Lending in 2022: €3.6bn
Lending in 2023 to end Q3: Undisclosed
Loan book at end Q3 2023: €12.3bn

Despite not reporting its lending volume, US manager Blackstone’s real estate debt business is included due to transaction evidence confirming it met the threshold for inclusion. In March, BREDS originated a £200 million loan to manager TPG to finance its 4i industrial platform, including 200 UK assets. In February, it originated a £144 million whole loan to London-based property firm M7 Real Estate to refinance its Box+ II portfolio of seven retail warehouses across the UK.

Cain International

Senior, mezzanine, development lender
Active in UK, exploring Continental European markets

Lending in 2022: €595m
Lending in 2023 to end Q3: €443m
Loan book at end Q3 2023: €2.4bn

UK-based property investment firm Cain’s 2023 lending comprised development loans. In July, it provided half of a £535 million development loan to landlord Canary Wharf Group for an upcoming phase of the Wood Wharf residential scheme in London, in partnership with private equity firm Starwood Capital. In Q3, it agreed a renewal and extension of an £80 million revolving credit facility with LNT Care Development to £100 million for a further three years, enabling LNT to target 30 new care home developments each year. In Q2, it agreed the renewal of a £50 million revolving credit facility with Tungsten Properties for three years to fund a pipeline of logistics developments.

Canada Life Asset Management

Senior lender
Active in UK, Ireland, Germany, Netherlands

Lending in 2022: c€400m
Lending in 2023 to end Q3: c€300m
Loan book at end Q3 2023: c€4bn

The asset management arm of insurer Canada Life provided a £148 million, 16-year loan to UK real estate investment trust LXi REIT in April, to refinance a mixed-use UK regional portfolio, typically let on inflation-linked, long-term leases. The loan was provided at an LTV of 40 percent. In August, it completed a £59.4 million, four-year loan to German manager Patrizia, secured by a portfolio of three UK retail parks, with an LTV of 50 percent. In September, it also provided a £40 million loan secured against a prime London residential, retail and leisure asset, for a private investor.

Cheyne Capital

Senior, mezzanine, whole loan, development lender
Active in UK, Ireland, France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Netherlands, Germany, Nordics

Lending in 2022: €3.3bn
Lending in 2023 to end Q3: €2.1bn
Loan book at end Q3 2023: €7.8bn

The London-based manager’s lending to the end of Q3 included €774 million of development loans. New loans accounted for €1.87 billion, with refinancing at €201 million. In September, Cheyne participated in a £780 million loan, alongside senior lender JPMorgan, to developer Quintain to enable it to continue to develop its Wembley Park scheme in London. In July, it announced a £229 million loan to developer Stanhope for the transformation of the former IBM building on London’s Southbank into a sustainable office scheme. In October, it provided €250 million to Bain Capital and Borio Mangiarotti for 770 homes in two schemes in Milan. Other deals included an €80 million loan to Hines and family business Peterson Group to refinance Central Plaza in Dublin.

Cohort Capital

Senior, mezzanine lender
Active in UK

Lending in 2022: €280m
Lending in 2023 to end Q3: €413m
Loan book at end Q3 2023: €539m

The UK specialist lender’s 2023 lending to the end of Q3 comprised senior financing deals of less than two years. It closed 21 loans during the period. They included a £75 million facility to a high-net-worth individual for the acquisition of a 33,000-square-foot residential property in prime central London in the summer. In August, it provided an £11 million loan to back the expansion of a life sciences park in Sunbury, near London. Since the end of Q3, it has provided a £73 million loan to a Qatar-based group to refinance the NoMad Hotel in Covent Garden in London. The 24-month loan refinanced a syndicate of banks.


To read more from our Active Lenders 2023, click here