OakNorth Bank – the UK bank powered by OakNorth – has completed its first-ever fund buy-out deal, providing financing to FORE Partnership, the purpose-driven, transformational real estate investment firm which is active in the UK and Western Europe.
The capital will support the buy-out of Edmond de Rothschild Real Estate Investment Management’s 32% minority interest in the business. It provides FORE with increased independence and agility to navigate the current uncertain market conditions, and to pursue its signature approach to real estate investment.
Founded in 2012, FORE’s unique fund strategy involves purchasing mispriced and undermanaged assets in central locations, repositioning them by enhancing cash flow from lease restructuring, and transforming them into highly sustainable low carbon buildings, with a focus on generating positive social impact. Since inception, it has acquired more than 1m sq. f.t commercial and residential property.
Recognising the current unprecedented market conditions, FORE is cautiously considering where and when new investment opportunities will emerge in the impending dislocation, and sees the opportunity to more than double its portfolio to circa £1bn over the next few years.
Basil Demeroutis, Managing Partner at FORE Partnership, said: “During these unprecedented times, this buy-out gives us the opportunity to be more agile and forward-thinking with our real estate acquisition pipeline. We are optimistic that we’ll be able to drive positive change for all stakeholders, tenants and the community with our social and environmental initiatives. OakNorth Bank was one of the first banks globally to achieve net carbon zero – as a business we are focused on carbon reduction and positive social impact, so are glad to be working with a lender that shares our commitment to sustainability. Mo and the team were on hand to answer any questions we had morning, noon or night, and their knowledge of both the real estate and fund management sectors gave us the confidence that we’d found the right funding partner.”
Mohith Sondhi, Senior Debt Finance Director at OakNorth, commented: “Despite ongoing uncertainty resulting from COVID-19, we’re continuing to find opportunities to support strong, viable businesses with their growth ambitions. This was an incredibly interesting and unique deal to have worked with Basil and FORE Partnership on and a landmark deal for OakNorth Bank being our first fund buy-out. We’re excited to see how FORE Partnership continues to drive long-lasting economic change with its sustainable and progressive approach to real estate development, and look forward to working with them in the future.”