Fund manager LeadCrest launches to target European sale leaseback opportunities

LeadCrest Capital Partners (LeadCrest) has launched as a new fund management business specialising in sale leaseback transactions across Europe.

The new business will target Europe’s untapped sale leaseback market, focusing on transactions between EUR10-EUR50 million in Western and Northern Europe. It will invest in office, industrial, retail and special-purpose properties with leases of more than ten years.

Operating from its offices in Paris, London and Luxembourg, the business will focus on sale leaseback and build-to-suit transactions

LeadCrest will be led by founder Georges Asmar as President and Managing Director. Prior to founding LeadCrest, Georges was Managing Director and Global Head of Net Lease Investments at global real estate firm Colony Capital, where he established the firm’s global sale leaseback strategy, originating over US$6.9 billion in deals across 80 transactions and closed on circa US$1.0 billion of transactions during his tenure.

Georges Asmar, President and Managing Director at LeadCrest, says: “Sale leaseback as an investment strategy is largely untapped in Europe outside of the UK. In the US it is an established and growing asset class, with over USD50 billion of transactions taking place each year and as many as 42 institutional funds focusing purely on sale leaseback.

“LeadCrest is the first fund manager to specialise in European sale leaseback on a dedicated basis and we intend to combine our US skillsets with a deep understanding and experience of country-specific dynamics, particularly in continental Europe.

“Europe is home to a large number of organisations who are sitting on high quality real estate assets, but who also need to unlock capital to support their core business. These assets constitute attractive and reliable investments at this point in the economic cycle.

“We see very positive opportunities across Europe, where there is clear demand from strong companies to secure long-term financing, but where sale leaseback activity to date has been very limited. Even in markets such as the UK where sale leaseback is more common, we believe there remains significant pull and push factors that point to further growth in sale leaseback transactions.

“Our objective is to build a diversified portfolio of high-yielding real estate assets, occupied by credit tenants on long-term, triple net leases. In time we hope to be the preferred source of real estate capital for all companies in Europe.”

LeadCrest’s senior leadership team will also include Pascal Leclerc, who has been appointed as LeadCrest’s Chief Operating Officer and Managing Director. Pascal brings over 25 years of experience in fund management, structuring and administration, including four years as Managing Director at Colony Capital Luxembourg Sàrl.

LeadCrest’s advisory panel of real estate experts will include Stuart Koenig, who served as Senior Partner and Chief Operating Officer at Ares’ USD10 billion Real Estate Division, and Reggie Winssinger, the Founder and Chairman of National Portfolio Inc and an expert in Net Lease transactions through his 23-year tenure as board member of WP Carey, Inc. Former Wharton Business School Professor, and academic leader Olivier Chatain, of international business school HEC Paris, will also serve on LeadCrest’s advisory board, advising on corporate strategy. 

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