Europa Capital launches UK mezz debt business

Rockefeller-backed firm launches Europa Capital Mezzanine to provide loans to the UK commercial property sector.

Europa Capital, the London-based company backed by the Rockefeller Group, has started a UK real estate mezzanine business.

The new platform, called Europa Capital Mezzanine, has been launched to provide loans to the commercial property sector, stepping in not only to provide acquisition finance but also to refinance existing property ownership structures.

Rumours that the company was planning to enter the UK debt space began earlier this year, though the company has only just launched the platform.

The team is being led by Michael Birch as chief executive, Selina Dicker as head of mezzanine lending, Tim Turnbull as head of property and Noel Manns, co-founder of Europa Capital, as chairman of the Europa Capital Mezzanine investment committee.

Dicker joined the firm just last month having been deputy head of lending led the lending and corporate finance team at Ireland’s National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) for two years. Prior to that she was director of real estate finance at Capmark. She began her career in 1999 as a manager in the leveraged finance and real estate finance unit at London-based Rothschild Bank, where she worked on a real estate securitisation joint venture with Merrill Lynch.

She is the second professional to transfer from NAMA to a London-based debt-focussed operation following Graham Emmett’s move to ICG-Longbow Real Estate Capital also last month.

Europa was started in 1995 since when it has raised six real estate funds. As PERE recently revealed, last month it held a first close on its latest opportunistic vehicle, Europa Fund IV, which is targeting around €750 million of commitments.

It was an independently owned company until October 2010 when Rockefeller Group International (RGI) – which is ultimately owned by Japan’s Mitsubishi Estate Co – acquired a 75 percent stake in the firm. However, RGI is not involved in the day-to-day operations of Europa, has no staff in Europa’s offices and is not involved in managing any of Europa’s funds.