Aeriance appoints Thaker as CEO

The Luxembourg-domiciled real estate lender has hired former Hypo Real Estate banker Harin Thaker as its new chief executive officer and plans to launch two debt funds targeting a combined €1 billion.

Aeriance Investments, the European commercial real estate lender part-sponsored by a Kuwaiti sovereign wealth fund, has appointed former Hypo Real Estate banker Harin Thaker as its chief executive officer. It also revealed plans for €1 billion to be deployed across two new funds.

Thaker, who in 2011 departed PBB Deutsche Pfandbriefbank (formerly Hypo Real Estate) after a 20-year career, most recently held the post of chief executive for the EMEA region. In that role, he oversaw lending to private equity real estate firms as well as property companies across Europe. Since leaving Hypo, he has been concentrating on promoting the Indian charity, Akshaya Patra.

As well as announcing a new CEO, Luxembourg-domiciled Aeriance said it was embarking on the launch of two new debt products that sought to “emulate” previous vehicles. 

Aeriance Mezzanine Real Estate Debt Fund (AMREF) 3 is targeting €500 million of commitments and is a closed-ended fund focused on mezzanine financing for commercial properties throughout Europe. It will focus on originating new junior financing, partnering with traditional lenders that “are unable to fund parts of the capital structure due to policy constraints,” and acquiring publicly-traded debt, such as commercial mortgage-backed securities. 

The second vehicle is the Opportunistic Real Estate Loan Fund (OREL) 2, a €500 million closed-ended fund focused exclusively on senior and junior short-term and development financing loans aimed at high-end residential properties located in prime central London neighborhoods, such as Belgravia, Knightsbridge and Mayfair. That vehicle follows OREL 1, which launched in 2011 and delivered distributions of 9 percent per year after the initial investment period and an overall projected gross internal rate of return of 14 percent.

Thaker joins Aeriance’s team of real estate and debt specialists that include Louise Standring-Smith and Elliot Hyames. Standring-Smith most recently worked as a consultant to PointPark Properties, which was just sold to TPG Capital, and as a director in the real estate group of Barclays Capital prior to that. Hyames, meanwhile, heads up Aeriance’s residential lending business and spent 12 years covering short-term finance, commercial loans, development finance and second charge loans.

Thaker said of his new position: “We are launching two new debt funds at a time when banks still are facing challenges in their ability to provide new debt and underlying sentiment in the real estate markets has started to improve. The growing appetite for debt exposure, both from borrowers and investors, will underpin what we regard as a compelling market in which to launch our fundraising activity.”