The 2013/01/30 at 14:54
Thierry Capdevielle, founder of TC Conseils
Bank-free solutions for financing your real-estate. This is the credo of TC Conseils, at a time when finding a loan often is no mean feat. "At the end of 2012, the granting of medium-term bank loans to companies represented only 70 % of the level in mid-2008. This is a real slump. At the same time, on the regulatory front, the enforcement of the Basel III directive has tended to reduce the bank capital available for loans. Next come the possible consequences of the sovereign debt problem affecting certain financial establishments, forcing them to meet extra restrictions in terms of loan grants," observes Thierry Capdevielle, Founder of this company specialised in financial solutions for corporate real estate.
The recent evolutions and the negative impact on volumes available for loans have led TC Conseils to focus on options representing alternatives or supplements to the offers from classic loan establishments. The "sale and leaseback system" is the company's leading product, summed up by three concurrent legal operations. The first is the transfer of the real-estate asset to a third party, often a real-estate investor with a risk-taking capacity. The second act consists in the signing of a firm commercial lease generally lasting 9 years, comparable to the recovery period for a traditional bank loan. The amount of the annuity to pay comes to between 9 and 12 % of the transfer amount. "Here again, if we compare these figures with a bank loan lasting 12 or 15 years, the sums globally represent annual reimbursement charges. So there is no substantial difference in terms of cash outlay," explains Thierry Capdevielle.
The third operation characterising a sale and leaseback situation is the signing of a unilateral sales agreement. The transferee, who becomes the leaser, promises the transferor, who becomes the tenant, to sell back the good at the end of the commercial lease. This promise constitutes an option, and not an obligation, to repurchase the asset. "In the absence of a buyback, the lease can be prolonged," specifies Thierry Capdevielle.
Rather than turning to a bank, companies are thus invited to look to the intervention of a real-estate investor. The clients of TC Conseils are largely intermediate-sized enterprises, but there are also some SMEs. Beyond the size of the organisation, it is above all the type of activity that determines whether it makes sense to take recourse to the sale and leaseback system. A production plant with fairly specialised real-estate assets will find a purchaser less easily than commercial premises. "All sectors may potentially be interested. We recently dealt with a medical equipment manufacturer, a company from the pharmaceuticals sector, a furniture dealer...," illustrates Thierry Capdevielle. The Île-de-France, Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Côte d'Azur regions concentrate a significant proportion of the activity of TC Conseils, due to their economic dynamism, but the offer extends to the whole of the French territory.
"Companies often wish for a leaseback solution that simply consists in a company transferring its asset to a financial lessor who leases it back to the company with an option to buy it back," he continues. "But asking a lessor for this type of solution comes back to the issue of obtaining a bank loan, all the more as the reimbursement periods can be long in this case." Getting out of banking mechanisms by turning towards a real-estate investor, as proposed by the sale and lease-back system, thus stands out as a way to escape from such pitfalls.
This type of operation has already been long developed in Germany, Great Britain and Benelux. In France, the sale and lease-back market remains relatively timid. In 2010, operations of this type represented a volume of 1.5 billion euros in France. According to Thierry Capdevielle, "the quite culturally strong desire in France to possess one's property is an obstacle to the take-off of this market, as well as the wish, amongst certain company heads, to amass capital for the future". But the absence of satisfactory answers from banks may result in this type of alternative solution being increasingly envisaged. "It should also be noted that an absence of real-estate property can facilitate the transfer of a company when it is being sold," he adds.
In France, two-thirds of companies are owners of the properties that they use for their activities. "In the United States where real-estate is often considered as dead capital, this rate is only 18 %. Bosses prefer to focus resources on other aspects," concludes Thierry Capdevielle.
For further information: click here.