ING Real Estate Entertainment Fund
At the time Greenstone Partners was engaged as financial adviser, ING Real Estate Entertainment Fund (“IEF”) was an externally managed ASX-listed REIT that invested in the freehold titles of pubs and clubs in Australasia. IEF faced a challenging operating environment resulting from regulations introduced to ban smoking inside venues, an over-geared balance sheet and a difficult debt refinancing market due to the Global Financial Crisis (“GFC”). Shortly after Greenstone Partners was engaged, IEF’s major tenant, Icon Hospitality Group, advised that it was facing significant financial difficulties and needed assistance from IEF.
Greenstone Partners completed a review of IEF’s strategic options. The strategic review identified that there was no “quick fix” and that IEF needed to undertake a series of initiatives to firstly, stabilise its balance sheet and secondly, refine its strategy to create shareholder value in a post GFC real estate environment.
Over a period of approximately two years, Greenstone Partners provided advice to IEF in relation to a range of strategic initiatives including:
- Refinancing IEF’s $180 million senior debt facility;
- Formulating operational improvement initiatives and structuring an investment by IEF in its major tenant, Icon Hospitality Group;
- Reviewing various recapitalisation options for IEF;
- Completing a $39 million underwritten rights issue;
- Reviewing IEF management’s three year strategic plan;
- Selling non-core assets; and
- Working with IEF to facilitate the replacement of ING Management Limited as responsible entity of IEF with a fund manager related to one of IEF’s major unitholders.