AXA Real Estate has won a competitive pitch to provide £135m of senior debt for AshbyCapital’s 200 Aldersgate office building near The Barbican in the City.
Ashby’s £135m financing ticket attracted offers from at least 10 parties with the margin agreed at below 200bps at c60% loan to value.
According to a banking source, Société Générale arranged the £135m, five-year loan, and is “passing it straight on to [AXA]”.
One underbidder on the financing said: “We offered a position at 175 basis points with 20 bps market flex; 175 bps was the best they received but 195 bps was the worst. [The borrower] went for certainty.”
Ashby Capital, founded by Peter Ferrari, bought the refurbished, former Clifford Chance’s EC1 headquarters for £225m in September.
The 434,000 sq ft, multi-let building was the company’s first investment since launching in June this year with equity of £750m to invest for a Saudi Arabian client. It was successfully refitted and let by Helical Bar for former owner, Deutsche Pfandbriefbank, earning Helical a management and success fee thought to have been between £20m and £30m.
200 Aldersgate’s financing was expected to set a benchmark for lower interest rate margins. De Montfort University’s mid year Commercial Property Lending Market Report, which was published last week and covers the 12 months to the end of June 2013, found a “steep’ fall in lending margins in H1 2013.
The average margin for prime offices declined from 324 bps at the end of 2012 to 280bps by June according to the survey.
Andrew Goodbody, vice president of the Association of Property Lenders, said: “the increased level of competition in the market is clearly being reflected by the reduction in average margins and the increasing average loan to values shown in the report”.
AXA Real Estate is the most successful of the insurance companies that have begun investing in senior European property loans over the last few years by volume of money invested. It has been making or buying mainly new loans at the rate of more than €2bn a year and in October won a new mandate for this strategy, from Norges Bank Investment Management.