Benson Elliot Arranges First Re-financing of a French Securitisation

Benson Elliot Capital Management (“Benson Elliot”), the leading private equity real estate firm, and Générale Continentale Investissements (“GCI”), have successfully completed the refinancing of the 4-building, 36,000 sqm Opéra Portfolio in Paris. The €138 million loan facility was provided by a syndicate of three banks: Helaba (Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen), Aareal and Credit Foncier de France, with Helaba acting as Facility and Security agent. The transaction represents the only refinancing of securitised debt to be completed in France since the crisis began.

The flagship property in the portfolio is the well-known Opéra Italiens building in Paris’ Central Business District. Once the headquarters of French daily Le Monde, the property is today occupied in its entirety by the Ministère de la Justice. The portfolio also includes a property in the 13th district (L’Olympique) and two office buildings in the popular western suburb of Issy Les Moulineaux.

Since acquiring the portfolio in 2007 the partners have increased occupancy from 65% to 99%. Major leases have been extended with the Ministère de la Justice and leading French publisher Editis (who has expanded to c. 8,000 sqm in L’Olympique, on a fixed-term lease expiring in 2020), and new leases have been completed with companies such as Socotec, Oracle and France Telecom. In addition, the partners profitably sold two assets in 2008: Matignon and Belles Feuilles.

Joseph De Leo, Partner & Head of Portfolio Management at Benson Elliot, commented: “This refinancing is a major milestone for the French market and for Benson Elliot. It shows that banks remain enthusiastic about funding quality assets, in major markets, with strong sponsors. Our business plan remains on track and we look forward to working with GCI to create further value in the Opéra Portfolio during the coming years.”

Paul Raingold, President at GCI, commented: “This refinancing demonstrates the strength of the Opéra portfolio, and of our successful partnership with Benson Elliot. These are well located, high standard properties, occupied by high quality, long-term tenants. Paris is one of the strongest property markets in Europe today, both occupationally and in terms of investor demand, and this transaction evidences how successfully the portfolio continues to weather this period of financial market uncertainty.”


For further information:

Benson Elliot
Joseph De Leo, Partner
Sophia Matveeva, Communications
+44 (0) 20 7808 8900

Financial Dynamics 
Dido Laurimore / Will Henderson
+44 (0) 20 7831 3113

Générale Continentale Investissements
Sharon Raingold, Managing Director
+33 (0)1 56 68 48 00


Benson Elliot

Benson Elliot Capital Management LLP (Benson Elliot) is a leading independent private equity real estate FSA regulated fund manager with over €700 million of assets and €850 million of equity under management. The firm has a pan-European investment approach and has transacted in the UK, Germany, France, Hungary, Slovakia, Spain, and Denmark. Benson Elliot holds a diversified real estate portfolio, currently comprised of office, retail, hotel and residential assets. Its holdings, through affiliates, include the Opéra Italiens in Paris, the 5-star Nikko Hotel in Dusseldorf and the newly built Novotel Edinburgh Park. The Benson Elliot team has experience in delivering superior risk-adjusted returns through active and innovative investment management and has successfully invested through market cycles. Benson Elliot is led by Marc Mogull and Trish Barrigan, who direct a team of senior industry professionals with experience in sourcing, underwriting and managing real estate investments throughout Europe and across all the major property sectors.

Benson Elliot was founded in 2005 to realise a vision for successful real estate investing in a changing market environment and has, from the start, worked with leading institutional investors. The firm launched its inaugural investment vehicle, Benson Elliot Real Estate Partners II, L.P., in April 2006, closing in August 2006 with commitments of more than €335 million. In 2009, Benson Elliot closed its second oversubscribed fund, Benson Elliot Real Estate Partners III, L.P., with commitments of over €500 million. Subsequently, Benson Elliot was awarded the 2009 European Fundraising of the Year prize by Private Equity Real Estate.

Benson Elliot Real Estate Partners II, L.P and Benson Elliot Real Estate Partners III, L.P. are not accepting new commitments from investors.

Générale Continentale Investissements

Générale Continentale Investissements (GCI) was created in 1975 by Paul Raingold and has become one of the leaders in commercial real estate investment and development in France. GCI has always chosen top quality partners and has been involved in investments totalling over €2.5 billion and amounting to more than 1 million sqm of top quality office and other commercial property space in the main business districts of Paris, the greater Paris region and other major French cities. In the centre of Paris, these investments have incorporated prime renovation and reconstruction schemes, as well as new developments. Tenants include major national and international companies, and the French Administration.

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