Natixis aims to reinforce its London office and boost its business in Germany, the French bank's new global head of real estate and hospitality, Emmanuel Verhoosel, tells PropertyEU in an interview.
Verhoosel took over the helm six months ago in a role that encompasses not just new origination but all the business related to the real estate and hospitality sector, including mergers & acquisitions, global markets and equity and debt capital markets.
Natixis lent €16 bn to property clients last year, and expects to repeat ‘something very similar’ in 2019, Verhoosel says.
His job is part of an evolution within the French bank, which has involved creating four ‘sector strategies’ to better develop and link up client relationships. Besides real estate and hospitality, the other three sectors selected for this focus are: aviation; infrastructure; and energy and natural resources.
‘Today clients want to talk to one team for all their needs and most of our clients are global,’ Verhoosel says. An example of the approach where the bank is assisting a client from various angles is Swiss Life’s agreement in February to buy a €1.7 bn office portfolio in Paris from Terreis.
Natixis has been the exclusive financial adviser to Swiss Life Asset Managers in the acquisition while also arranging the debt financing. The debt will be jointly underwritten by Natixis and Swiss Life Holding, 50/50, and will be syndicated by Natixis.
Like investment banks and most of the other large French banks, Natixis distributes a significant portion of each loan it originates; normally about 75% is distributed.
Half of total real estate business is in the US where Verhoosel has 50 property specialists, with the other 50% in Europe and to a lesser extent, Asia. ‘We have a special place in the US (among European banks)’, he points out. ‘We are the number nine loan contributor to US CMBS deals and because we can pursue dual syndication and CMBS options it allows us to do large volumes. Plus the margins are good there to support our distribution model.’
An example of operating in a joined-up fashion is ‘our ability to distribute a US deal outside the US, for example in Korea, or Japan, or Taiwan’.
Plans for Europe
In Europe, Verhoosel reveals there are plans to ‘reinforce’ the London office - despite Brexit - to increase the focus on financing core assets ‘and for our global clients’. Other hubs in the region alongside Paris are in Frankfurt, Madrid, Milan and the Benelux. Business in Asia goes through a Hong Kong office ‘and we are looking at the possibility of developing a business in Australia’.
The new Natixis head says he also wants ‘to further develop business in Germany’. Natixis has had a pfandbrief licence there for some time. However, Verhoosel has his eye on the queue of international capital investing in Europe’s largest economy and second-largest real estate market. ‘We start from what’s happening in real estate, proactively tracking which cities the investment is going to...Clearly there is more inward investment from Asia.
In terms of new global real estate investing trends, he believes ‘the next big thing for us is Japan. Their money is much greater than the Koreans. We are very close to those investors.’