It was recently my pleasure to assist with the refinancing of a €5million property in France. The client was referred to me by his previous lender, who no longer had an appetite for French lending but were keen to help the client transact smoothly with a French property refinance.
My client’s property was in the beautiful Alpes-Maritimes area, known for its fine weather and peaceful surrounds. The property had undergone major renovation work since it was purchased, increasing the value significantly. The renovations were nearly complete, and he was therefore looking to release equity and refinance onto an interest-only repayment facility on the most competitive terms possible.
My client was in his sixties and had no fixed address as he travelled extensively all over the world. This meant he had a very international profile, which included a footprint in a high-risk country. His income also entered his personal accounts via many offshore entities, so he had irregular income. Furthermore, my client only drew income on completion of large individual projects, many of which take years to vest.
He was therefore temporarily quite illiquid; to form a new private banking relationship to facilitate his French property refinance, he knew he would need to place assets under management (AUM), so this was a hurdle to overcome. My client also had an anonymous holding company based in Luxembourg, so I needed to approach a lender with an affiliation there for them to successfully conduct due diligence.
After a thorough discussion with my client, I gained a clearer view of his income and background. This meant I could present the nuances of the situation clearly to a top private bank. I explained to the bank that a liquidity event was due within the next year, using contract agreements from his Japanese Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) and the local government, in addition to his successful track record as an investor.
Fortunately, we at Enness have an excellent relationship with a local private bank whose risk criteria is heavily favourable for loans under 50% loan to value (LTV), and relies less on wealth management to draw up credit terms. This was ideal for my client, as it allowed us to massively reduce the AUM required. I organised for him to initially place just €500,000 of AUM, with a decrease to his interest rate should he place more.
Ultimately, I negotiated a €2.75million facility on an interest-only repayment basis, at a variable rate of EURIBOR + 1.8%. This would be reduced to 1.5% upon the placement of €2million of AUM. This was an excellent result for a complicated case; if you are looking to refinance a property in France, please don’t hesitate to get in touch, and we would be delighted to advise you further.
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