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Deals of the Year 2022: JV harnesses international credit for Irish social and affordable housing    
This winning deal is a finance partnership between Fairfield Real Estate Finance, which is one of the more active non-bank lenders in Ireland, and Initiative Ireland. It represents an ambitious, innovative and sustainable approach that is set to play a significant role in funding the development of 2,500 social and affordable houses a year across Ireland for the next three years.
Through this venture, Initiative Ireland will significantly increase the scale of its lending activity by €600 million, enabling experienced developers to deliver 7,500 new homes nationwide over the next three years. The platform facilitates the delivery of high-quality, energy-efficient social and affordable housing for the Irish market.

The lending vehicle is a Fairfield-sponsored Irish SPV which is funded by senior secured debt from Goldman Sachs and junior debt from Oaktree. The deal represents Fairfield's first platform established solely for the purposes of financing residential development Ireland. DLA Piper advised Fairfield on all aspects of both the establishment of the joint lending programme and its third party funding arrangements.

Advisers on the deal were DLA Piper Ireland LLP (Irish legal and tax advisors to Fairfield), DLA Piper UK LLP (English legal advisors to Fairfield), AMOSS and Eversheds Sutherland (Irish legal advisors to Initiative Ireland), Jones Day (lead counsel to Goldman Sachs) and Mason Hayes and Curran LLP (Irish legal advisors to Goldman Sachs). Brookland provided debt advice to Fairfield.

Christopher Wilson, Managing Director of Fairfield Real Estate Finance, commented: ‘The joint lending programme with Initiative Ireland is an important step in the evolution of our business.’
Padraig Rushe, Initiative Ireland

Padraig Rushe, chief executive of Initiative Ireland, said the development would further strengthen Initiative Ireland's ability to compete as a new financial competitor in the Irish property market. ‘We’re building a truly sustainable and reliable source of alternative funding for experienced property developers to help tackle the housing crisis,’ he said.

‘Initiative Ireland has worked for years to support developers to deliver new energy efficient housing nationwide, with a focus on social and affordable housing, to help tackle the housing crisis. Through our new partnership, we can now increase the scale of lending to match the scale of our ambition, working to support small, medium and large scale developers nationwide with fast, fair and flexible development loans.

‘The deal positions Initiative Ireland to become one of the largest providers of residential development finance in the country in the next three years. We're extremely fortunate to have the backing of partners who share our commitment to the market and to sustainable lending and thankful to all those who helped make that deal a reality,’ Rushe added.

Banu Kisakurek, Managing Director in the Private Credit business within Goldman Sachs Asset Management, commented: ‘We believe our provision of credit provides increased support for developers and that Initiative Ireland's innovative approach will make a meaningful impact on social and affordable housing supply.’

Neil Campbell, Partner, Financial Services, Mason Hayes Curran, said: ‘We were delighted to work on this transaction, which will facilitate the development of up to 7,500 social and affordable homes over the next few years.’

His colleague Miche?l Grace, who is also an FS Partner with the firm, commented: ‘The unique transaction structure was executed in a reasonably quick timeframe and demonstrates the value of having experienced investors, sponsors and advisers working together to achieve a common goal. Everyone on the deal worked well together and it was a pleasure to feed into a process which sees two pre-eminent international investors support a fantastic Irish lending platform in Initiative Ireland.

‘International credit is vital in helping Ireland meet its ambitious home building targets, with strong alternative lenders such as Initiative Ireland playing a really important part in that process. This transaction is another example of that and were delighted to support Goldman Sachs Asset Management here.’

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