The march of institutional capital into European real estate debt markets continued during 2020, as a range of non-bank lenders deployed finance in a dislocated market.
Allianz Real Estate was among them, with around €2 billion of European lending. The property business of German insurer Allianz was voted Insurance Company Lender of the Year: Europe – the fifth consecutive year it has emerged victorious in this category.
The shortlist for the inaugural Fundraising of the Year: Europe award featured M&G Investments, which held a £1.6 billion (€1.7 billion) final close across three funds in June; Sweden’s Brunswick Real Estate, which secured €1.2 billion for a first close of its third Nordic credit fund; and US manager AllianceBernstein, which partnered with newly launched Lacarne Capital to come to the European market with €1.2 billion of capital.
However, the winner was Blackstone, for its Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies IV fund. At final close in September, it had raised $8 billion for the global fund, through which it will lend in Europe.
Strength in logistics
Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies was voted Debt Fund Lender of the Year: Europe, beating AXA IM Alts, DWS and Starwood Capital to the punch. The US investor provided €1.2 billion of European real estate finance during the first three quarters of 2020. Among its lending strategies since the onset of covid-19, it has built a logistics loan portfolio by providing small and medium-sized loans.
Alternative lenders proved active across Europe as they sought opportunities amid the uncertainty. London-based manager M&G was voted Alternative Lender of the Year in both the UK and Germany. In its home country, its deals included a £353 million whole loan in October to finance a central London office building and suburban London supermarket, in one of the UK’s largest non-bank finance deals since the start of the pandemic. In Germany, it provided a €168.3 million whole loan in February to Asia Pacific Land and Arax Properties to fund the acquisition of the City Campus office complex in Charlottenburg, northern Berlin.
London-based Cheyne Capital was voted Alternative Lender of the Year: France for a second year. In November, it provided a €96 million senior loan for the refurbishment of a Paris office building, bringing its French platform’s lending over the previous 18 months to €450 million.
Blackstone’s winning run continued with Alternative Lender of the Year: Southern Europe and Lender of the Year: Benelux. In Spain, it provided €165 million for the development of three build-to-rent assets in Madrid and Barcelona, while in the Netherlands, it provided €107 million to finance an affordable residential portfolio.
Small-scale lenders remain active
Below the large-scale institutional-grade lending that occupies many of the bank and alternative lenders in Europe is a thriving small-scale loan market, particularly in the UK.
The Small-Ticket Market Lender of the Year: Europe award sought to recognise this corner of the market.
The award was won by Octopus Real Estate: the London-based specialist lender provided £290 million (€315 million) of finance during the first 10 months of 2020 across commercial, residential and development loans. To date, the firm has provided £4.8 billion across 3,800 loans.