Aareal Bank AG is opening a branch in Zurich this month. This represents a further achievement in the company’s internationalisation policy.
The property bank will then be represented in 13 European countries and the USA. It already handles property finance in a total of 19 countries. In 2003, the bank generated 80 per cent of its new business outside Germany.
Even without a local presence, the bank has been active in Switzerland since 1997, and its present volume of loan business in Switzerland is already around €640m, including some €140m syndicated and about €95m underwritten. Financing focuses primarily on office buildings, hotels, shopping centres, logistics hubs and industrial estates. Clients are mainly institutional investors such as property companies, funds and select private investors.
‘Since the adjustment of the Lex Friedrich in 1997, the country has been a very interesting growth market for us,’ comments André R Spathelf (42), Aareal Bank’s new MD in Switzerland. ‘Having a presence on the ground in Switzerland means our target clientele will have property and financing specialists who know the terrain,’ comments Spathelf, whose previous jobs included senior management positions in finance and property at Credit Suisse, Swiss Bank Corporation (now UBS) and Swisscom Real Estate.