Ampere secures €650m for French public sector housing venture

Ampere Gestion, a subsidiary of CDC Habitat, France's biggest social housing landlord, has secured €650 mln of funding for public-sector-worker housing initiative Foncière Vesta in partnership with Swiss Life Asset Managers Real Estate France.

Joint arrangers were Natixis and Crédit Foncier de France.

Ampere said the financing will be used to fund an ambitious construction programme for the Vesta venture, which comprises a 128-asset portfolio with around 4,000 housing units let principally to workers from SNCF, the French state-owned rail company.

The average maturity profile of the funding is more than 12 years, and comprises €360 mln in mortgage debt and €290 mln in unsecured lending. In total, it involves 17 banks including 12 Groupe BPCE banks.

'This is the first time we have seen this type of transaction in the French housing sector, and we are delighted with this acquisition and the long-term partnership formed with SNCF. We are also very pleased to have been able to finalise this funding package within a very tight timeline alongside leading partner banks,' said Frédéric Bôl, head of real estate France at Swiss Life Asset Managers.

'We are delighted to have completed this capital raising process in such a timely and smooth manner,' said Vincent Mahé, secretary general of CDC Habitat and CEO of Ampere Gestion.

'We started working on the structuring and the implementation of this high-performance funding together with Natixis, Crédit Foncier and the other partner banks in the summer of 2018. The objective was for the amount of the funding and its maturity to perfectly fit the development ambitions of this portfolio and the long-term commitments we have made to our investors,' Mahé added.

'Institutional investors are increasingly interested in residential asset classes. Natixis aims to become a major player in financing this type of asset class, accompanying key partners such as CDC Habitat and Swiss Life Asset Managers,' said Thierry Bernard, head of real estate Finance, Europe at Natixis corporate & investment banking.

Foncière Vesta was advised by the legal firm Paul Hastings, with notarial services provided by Prud’homme & Baum, KL Associés and Les Notaires du Trocadéro; the banking pool received its legal advice from Archers, with notarial services provided by Wargny Katz. Caisse d’Epargne Ile-de-France is the agent for the overall funding package.

Vesta venture
Ampere Gestion and Swiss Life Asset Managers Real Estate France acquired a 80% stake in the 4,000-unit Vesta portfolio from ICF Novedis, a subsidiary of SNCF Group, in October 2018. The deal was struck on behalf of five institutional investors.

The investor consortium comprises ERAFP (French Public service supplementary pension scheme), lRCANTEC (supplementary retirement fund for public-sector contractual employees), CDC Habitat, Swiss Life and Vonovia.

ICF Novedis has maintained a 20% stake in Vesta, and continues to provide rental management services.

The project aims to maintain priority access for SNCF employees to Foncière Vesta’s housing units and, more generally, develop and enhance the housing offer for public sector workers in supply-constrained areas.

CDC Habitat is the public interest real estate subsidiary of French financial body Caisse des Dépôts. It manages almost 495,000 housing units and also works with the recently created Banque des Territoires.


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