Real Estate Capital Europe’s Active Lenders 2023: The Banks, Part 1

Deals were closed this year, despite a subdued financing market. The following list puts the spotlight on the organisations that continued to lend

Readers of Real Estate Capital Europe will be familiar with our annual list of leading property debt providers, in recent years entitled Europe’s Top 50 Lenders. This year, we unveil the inaugural Real Estate Capital Europe’s Active Lenders as the successor to the Top 50.

What has changed, and why?

We have done away with a pre-determined number of entries. In previous years, organisations have pitched for one of a set number of spots on the list, with our editorial team evaluating the evidence and making the final choices. Active Lenders is primarily a source of information on real estate lending market activity, meaning it was open to those willing to share details of their activity – provided their volume was above a minimum threshold of €200 million for the first three quarters of 2023.

There were two main reasons for the change. First, the lending industry is expanding. We want the list to reflect the active market, regardless of the number of lenders, to ensure it provides transparency. Second, a reason pertinent to 2023’s challenging conditions, as well as not limiting the size of the list, nor did we want to fill it with less active organisations.

The result is a list not dissimilar in size from recent years, with 51 entries. The following information is based on submissions from the lenders in question, plus publicly available information. Where we have not been able to verify figures and detail, the honour system has been used.

It is important to note the omission of an organisation from this list does not indicate Real Estate Capital Europe considers it an inactive lender. Not all organisations were willing to divulge information on their activities, but that does not necessarily mean they have nothing to share. The definition of active is also subjective. Our €200 million bar would be easier for some organisations to breach than others.

As ever, we welcome feedback. The editor can be reached at daniel.c@pei.group. The list may prompt debate. We hope it will also provide much needed clarity during an uncertain time for the market. Enjoy discovering Real Estate Capital Europe’s Active Lenders 2023.

Aareal Bank

Senior, whole loan lender
Active in Germany, UK, France, Spain, Italy, Benelux, Nordics, Czech Republic, Poland, Austria

Lending in 2022: €5.8bn
Lending in 2023 to end Q3: €4.4bn
Loan book at end Q3 2023: €21.1bn

The German bank’s €6.5 billion of global real estate lending to the end of Q3 comprised €4 billion of newly acquired business and €2.5 billion of renewals. In total, €4.4 billion of lending was in Europe. In August, it completed a £300 million (€346 million) refinancing of three London student housing assets for the Chapter joint venture between managers Greystar and PIMCO Prime Real Estate, plus PSP Investments. In September, it provided €210 million to private equity firm Henderson Park to refinance Le Méridien Etoile, a luxury hotel in Paris. In August, it provided a €103 million loan to hotel firm Strawberry Group for the five-star Villa Copenhagen Hotel in the Danish capital.

Bank of America

Senior, mezzanine, whole loan, loan-on-loan lender
Active across Europe

Lending volumes and loan book size undisclosed

The US investment bank did not disclose volumes, but deal evidence demonstrated its activities. It was sole underwriter and arranger of a £330 million March refinancing of a portfolio of UK hotels for Swedish hotel property company Pandox. The bank also provided 50 percent of a £350 million financing, alongside Deutsche Bank, of Blackstone’s take-private of UK landlord Industrials REIT, which completed in June. The debt was subsequently securitised in the Stark Financing 2023-1 commercial mortgage-backed securities deal. It also provided a €130 million French portfolio financing for energy company EDF in April. Other deals included a logistics financing in Sweden, a retail loan in Italy, and a multifamily transaction in Spain.

Barclays Bank

Senior, mezzanine, whole loan, development lender
Active in UK, Ireland

Lending in 2022: €5.1bn
Lending in 2023 to end Q3: €2.88bn
Loan book at end Q3 2023: €10.5bn

While refinancing was the bulk of the UK bank’s lending, at around €2 billion, it also reported €429 million of new loans. The bank reported development financing deals including, in July, a €30.5 million loan for 113 build-to-rent residential units in Dublin for developers Royalton Group and Stadium Group. In April, Barclays provided a £150 million participation in a £565 million facility for property company LXi REIT, enabling it to meet immediate debt maturities. In September, it provided £160 million of a £320 million financing of UK company Balanced Commercial Property Trust.

BBVA

Senior, development lender
Active in Spain, Portugal

Lending in 2022: €800m
Lending in 2023 to end Q3: €965m
Loan book at end Q3 2023: €2.6bn

The Spanish bank’s senior lending in the first three quarters of 2023 included 22 percent for development financing. New loans accounted for 80 percent of its overall volume. BBVA provided a €180 million bilateral loan to Spanish property company Merlin Properties against Torre PwC, a Madrid tower housing the offices of consultant PwC and a five-star hotel. The tower is in Madrid’s Cuatro Torres business area. In July, the bank provided €55 million of a €211.5 million portfolio financing for Spanish hospitality real estate owner Atom Hoteles. In July, it also provided €40 million of Project Fortuny, a €137 million financing of 213 retail branches for Spanish bank Sabadell.

Berlin Hyp

Senior, development lender
Active in Germany, Poland, France, Netherlands

Lending in 2022: €6.96bn
Lending in 2023 to end Q3: €3.3bn
Loan book at end Q3 2023: €28.7bn

The German bank said its 2023 lending, by the end of September, was weighted towards new loans at a volume of €2.2 billion, with refinancing accounting for the remaining €1.1 billion. In April, it provided a €52 million loan to manager Tristan Capital Partners to finance a Brussels office portfolio. The structured financing included around €9 million made available as a green transformation loan. In October, outside the counting period for the above figures, it provided €65 million to landlord GSG Berlin for the upgrade of a commercial complex in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district.

BNP Paribas

Senior, whole loan, development lender
Active in Western Europe

Lending volumes and loan book size undisclosed

The French bank did not disclose figures, but supplied significant deal evidence. In June, it was one of three lenders, alongside Deutsche Bank and AXA IM Alts, in the £300 million refinancing and development financing of the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxford with a participation of around £100 million. In Germany, it was bookrunner and mandated lead arranger in the €150 million-plus acquisition financing of a Center Parcs holiday park in Germany. In March, the bank provided 50 percent of a €550 million bridge-to-bond facility alongside French peer Societe Generale for France-based healthcare provider Icade Santé – since renamed Praemia Healthcare – as part of a deal that saw the acquisition by investors led by Primonial Real Estate Investment Management of Icade’s interest in Praemia.

Citi

Senior, whole loan, loan-on-loan lender
Active across Europe

Lending in 2022: €2.5bn*
Lending in 2023 to end Q3: €1.4bn**
Loan book at end Q3 2023: Undisclosed

The US investment bank’s volumes were down from 2022 but remained significant. It arranged €2.3 billion of European real estate financing in 2023 to the end of Q3, lending €1.4 billion of it. New loans accounted for 94 percent of the total. In August, it was lender in the first commercial mortgage-backed securities issuance in Europe for more than a year – the £289.8 million Last Mile Logistics CMBS 2023-1 UK, sponsored by Blackstone. It also underwrote half of a £310 million loan against Newfoundland, the tallest build-to-rent tower in Europe, in London’s Canary Wharf. In August, Citi fully underwrote a €265 million financing against an Irish hospitality asset.

*€6 billion arranged; **€2.3 billion arranged

Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank

Senior, development lender
Active in France, Italy, Spain, UK

Lending in 2022: €3.7bn
Lending in 2023 to end Q3: €2.5bn
Loan book at end Q3 2023: €12.5bn

The French bank’s real estate arm closed €1.3 billion of new loans and €1.2 billion of refinancing in the first nine months of 2023. In March, alongside UK lender NatWest, it provided a £150 million green loan for the 585,000-square-foot mixed-use first phase of UK property company British Land and pension fund AustralianSuper’s Canada Water masterplan in London. In April, it joined French peer BNP Paribas and US lender Citi in a €465 million, five-year refinancing of Blackstone’s Fidere Spanish residential platform. In July, CACIB participated in a €110 million financing of the Four Seasons Firenze hotel in Florence, backing a refurbishment of the luxury property.

DekaBank

Senior lender
Active in Germany, UK, Ireland, France

Lending in 2022: €1.2bn
Lending in 2023 to end Q3: €900m
Loan book at end Q3 2023: €7.6bn

The German bank provided €500 million of new loans and €400 million of refinancings. In April, it provided £82.5 million to manager Tristan Capital to replace construction finance for the 103 Colmore Row office scheme in Birmingham. In July, it provided the final tranche of Project Stellar, a €145 million loan for a portfolio of five last-mile logistics facilities in Germany, 89 percent occupied by retailer Amazon. It participated in a €250 million acquisition loan to manager Valesco for its €460 million purchase in June of the Sequana Tower in Paris, the largest office deal of the year in continental Europe at that point. Other deals included a £74 million UK office loan secured against two grade A office properties in London and Cardiff to funds managed by Credit Suisse Asset Management.

Goldman Sachs

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

Lending volumes and loan book size undisclosed

The real estate lending business of the investment banking arm of US financial group Goldman Sachs did not disclose volumes. However, examples of deals demonstrated its 2023 activity. In May, it was sole underwriter of a £600 million-plus development loan for a pre-let UK data centre. It subsequently syndicated the loan to around 10 investors and retained a portion. In October, it provided a €150 million-plus back leverage facility to a whole loan lender in the refinancing of a portfolio of 13 hotel and leisure assets across eight European countries. Also in October, it was sole underwriter of a €180 million investment and development facility for a cold storage portfolio in the UK and France. In April, it participated in a €505 million refinancing for German company VIB Vermögen of a logistics portfolio comprising 45 properties in the country.

Helaba

Senior lender
Active across Europe

Lending in 2022: €9.2bn
Lending in 2023 to end Q2: €1.9bn
Loan book at end Q2 2023: €28bn

By its standards, Germany’s Helaba was far less active this year than previously. Figures were available for the first half of the year, in which it reported €1.9 billion of new medium and long-term business from its real estate finance business. That was down from €4.2 billion in the same period in 2022. However, it closed some large loans. In February, it was announced as one of four banks that had refinanced developer HB Reavis’s mixed-use Varso Place scheme in Warsaw with a €475 million loan. In January, it was announced as the lender in a €129 million financing of five logistics assets also in Poland for owner Accolade. In April, it participated in a €505 million refinancing for German company VIB Vermögen of a logistics portfolio comprising 45 properties in the country.


To read more from our Active Lenders 2023, click here