AXA raises further €1.4bn for Euro debt programme

The real estate arm of French insurer AXA said it had raised €1.4 billion of fresh commitments for its commercial real estate debt programme in Europe.

AXA Real Estate Investment Managers (AXA REIM), the Paris-based firm that is part of the insurance giant AXA, has raised another €1.4 billion of equity commitments for a pan-European debt strategy.

The extra capital commitments have come in since March, the firm said in a statement, bringing the combined total equity raise for the strategy to around €7 billion since it made the decision to push a debt strategy again in 2010 amid the retreat by traditional banks from real estate lending. Its debt business began in 2005 but entered a lull in the wake of the global financial crisis in 2008.

AXA did not specify which vehicles would be making investments, but the debt strategy encompasses several separate accounts and its Commercial Real Estate Senior 1 (CRE1) fund, according to a spokesman.

Isabelle Scemama, AXA REIM’s head of commercial real estate finance said in a statement: “To be able to operate most effectively in the real estate loans market I believe that having a platform of sufficient size and scale is of critical importance”.

As well as revealing the fundraising, the company said it completed the €800 million purchase of a performing loan portfolio from Société Générale in June. It added that 40 percent of loan investments it had made in the first half of the year were primary loans while 60 percent were secondary transactions, of which the Société Générale portfolio was an example.

In addition to targeting existing and new investors in its core markets of the UK and France, the company is now focusing its marketing efforts also in Germany, the Netherlands, the Nordics and Switzerland. It said there was strong appetite from investors in those countries wishing to invest in one of the few senior lending products that can provide them with diversification out of their domestic markets.