The Evolution of Highly Geared Private Debt

The Evolution of Highly Geared Private Debt

In both vanilla and also restructuring transactions private debt is playing a pivotal role in making transactions happen.  The use is broader than its name might suggest.  It spans both corporate and property borrowing, and can come from private individuals, family offices or from larger funds.

There is a global availability of private debt lending from a range of sources, all of whom are hungry for an upper single digit, or double digit return per annum.  There are a number of local, US, European and Asian funding lines currently active in the UK.  These lenders are active in London but the real margins they seek are accessible in the regions.

Their appetite and liquidity is driven by a number of macro reasons such as the contraction of
European and U.S retail bank’s balance sheets, and the lack of dividends and yield available from equities.

These lenders have several unique selling points, such as short reporting lines that enable quick decisions to be made, pan‐European appetite out of one main office, and their flexibility when structuring covenants.  

If their benefits were ranked then gearing would be number one, certainty and ability to quickly deliver as number two, and number three would be the repayment structures, which can be interest only, rolled up or back loaded.

Recent term sheets we have delivered include: 

  • 75% loan to value (LTV) facility on a single tenant office investment acquisition, at a 6.00% rate with only 4 years remaining on the lease.
  • 90% LTV for a well located commercial building refinance at an 8.00% rate, which was going through a Bank of Scotland Business Support Unit (BSU) restructuring.
  • 75% LTV bridge finance facility at 1.00% per month, for a hotel and land site exit from Royal Bank of Scotland Global Restructuring (GRG).

Pricing can vary depending on the transaction, with the leanest rates from 4.00% per annum for well located property investment lending, up to 15.00% for infrastructure lending.  They invariably seek “make whole” provisions to ensure they get a fixed return.

Much like the rest of the UK property and corporate lending market, there is a brisk evolution happening.  Interest margins are being compressed and there is a gradual uptick in LTV’s, which leads to a direct correlation in increased risk.

The record high volumes of lending in 2015 look set to continue into 2016 and beyond. 

Jamie Davidson I Managing Director I 0131 564 0172

Search for private debt bridging options here: Property Finance Finder