Sankaty makes top bid on €545m Romanian book

Bain Capital’s credit arm has bid around 20 cent on the euro.

Credit manager Sankaty Advisors has emerged as the highest bidder in an auction process for a €545 million book of Romanian commercial real estate loans.

The $24 billion asset manager, in conjunction with the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), has bid around 20 cents on the euro for The Bank of Cyprus portfolio termed Project Ariadne, an industry source said. This would imply a purchase price of about €109 million.

Private investment firms HIG Bayside and AnaCap Financial Partners as well as Deutsche Bank and The Baupost Group in a joint effort, are also said to have bid. However, as first reported by Co-Star, the sale had stalled as a result of too wide a gap between the bid and ask prices.

Sankaty Advisors, EBRC and The Bank of Cyprus declined to comment.

Project Ariadne is a three-tranche portfolio comprised of €360 million in Romanian non-performing loans, €116 million in a mix of performing and non-performing loans and a 16-strong property portfolio, Co-Star reports. The transaction also includes the transfer of 46 employees.

Sankaty Advisors, an independently-managed affiliate of Boston-headquartered Bain Capital, was founded in 1998. The firm has offices in Boston, New York, Chicago, London, Luxembourg and Melbourne.

In October last year PDI reported that the firm is targeting between $700 million to $1 billion for a new global direct lending fund focused solely on providing senior secured debt. In the same month, Sankaty announced the acquisition of an €800 million portfolio of Spanish real estate loans from Bankia, in partnership with real estate manager Starwood. In July, it bought a $1.3 billion book of loans and other securities from JP Morgan, its biggest portfolio purchase to date.

Sankaty closed its second mid-market opportunities fund on $1.4 billion in late 2013. The vehicle has a wide mandate to provide sponsored and non-sponsored loans and invest in portfolio purchases and secondaries.