• Investa Property Trust finalises new senior debt facility totalling AU$1.9 billion
  • Facilities arranged with seven leading domestic and foreign financial institutions
  • Australia's four major banks participate as cornerstone lenders
  • Two European banks participate, Credit Agricole CIB and BOS International (a subsidiary of Lloyds Banking Group)
  • One of the largest commercial property loans made by Bank of China in Australia
Investa Property Group ("Investa") has today announced it has successfully refinanced debt facilities to the value of AU$1.9 billion on the Investa Property Trust ("IPT") office portfolio, due to mature in December 2012.

It is the largest property refinance in Australia in the last five years and believed to be one of the largest globally since the GFC.

IPT owns interests in 18 Premium and A-grade commercial office buildings located in major CBD locations around Australia.

Funding was received from seven domestic and international banks including ANZ, CBA, NAB, Westpac, Bank of China, BOS International and Credit Agricole CIB. Five of the seven banks had participated in the previous facility, demonstrating strong support from Investa's existing banking partners.

As cornerstone lenders, the four domestic banks committed AU$1.6 billion of the facility nand were granted mandated lead arranger status.

Strong interest was received from a range of domestic and offshore banks with proposals to participate exceeding AU$2.3 billion, resulting in a number of banks being scaled back and some proposals not required.

Commenting on the refinance Ming Long, Group Chief Financial Officer at Investa said: "This is the largest common terms, forward start refinance undertaken in Australia in recent years and has been effectively self-syndicated. This is a strong endorsement of both the quality of the management team and assets supporting the facility.

We are pleased at the level of participation and the diversity of lenders in the facility. Each bank has built strong relationships with us over a long period of time, and has actively worked to understand our strategy and requirements, allowing the refinance to be completed well ahead of expiry."

The facility is the Bank of China's first big-ticket commercial office property transaction in Australia and a strong indication of the bank's commitment to increase their exposure to Australia. Receiving the support of European banks such as BOS International and Credit Agricole CIB was also encouraging for Investa.

The new facility includes 3, 4 and 5 year tranches with a more flexible undertaking and covenant package. The structure also allows Investa to refinance any part of the IPT debt at any point, without the limitations inherent in a syndicated facility.

Scott MacDonald, Chairman and CEO of Investa said: “It is a significant achievement to refinance such a large loan facility on favourable terms during uncertain economic times.

The fact that Australia's four largest banks came together as cornerstone lenders is a unique outcome, as is the level of participation by the European banks, who are selective in their Australian lending activities.

We believe it underscores the fact that debt is available globally and in Australia to borrowers who are viewed as having good management and quality assets," said Mr MacDonald.

Investa was advised by Allens Arthur Robinson and lenders were advised by Clayton Utz.