NatWest completes sale of €466m UK shopping centre loan portfolio

UK lender NatWest has completed the sale of Project Mercatus, a portfolio of loans secured against 15 city-centre shopping centres in the UK.

The portfolio, representing debt of over £400 mln (€466 mln), has been sold to a consortium comprising loan servicers Attestor and Octane Capital Partners, as well as Ellandi, a community retail asset manager.

PwC Financial Services acted as lead advisor on the deal, with NatWest Markets in the role of advisor and Ashurst as legal counsel.

NatWest said it was confident that the buyers would support the long-term potential of the shopping centres and the communities they serve.  The bank plans to redeploy the proceeds from the sale into its future lending to UK business, in support of the economic recovery from the pandemic.

Phil Hooper, head of real estate at NatWest Group, said: ‘The shopping centre sector has been under pressure for a number of years, and this has been greatly exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

‘Whilst we have looked to support all our customers through the market disruption caused by Covid-19, in some cases a sale provides the platform for the most sustainable long-term solution.  Through this trade we have looked to engage with investors who will continue to work with the customers on a medium - long term basis, and we will re-invest the funds received to further support the UK recovery.’

 The 15 shopping centres are:
o Antonine Shopping Centre, Cumbernauld
o Bradford Broadway Shopping Centre and the adjoining Light Cinema, Bradford
o Bouverie Place Shopping Centre, Folkestone
o Cribbs Causeway, Bristol
o Erneside Shopping Centre, Enniskillen
o Highcross Shopping Centre, Leicester
o Manchester Arndale, Manchester
o Newlands Shopping Centre, Kettering
o Sunniside Leisure, Sunderland
o Swan Centre, Eastleigh
o Thamesgate Shopping Centre, Gravesend
o The Lanes Shopping Centre, Carlisle
o The Marlowes and Fareham House, Hemel Hempstead
o The Precinct, Coventry
o Wellington Way Shopping Centre, Waterlooville


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