Office Alone

With many deals closing and the year also coming to close, everyone is feeling a little weary, one person in particular was sleepier than the rest…
For most people a Christmas nightmare would be resting their eyes for just a moment and waking up a-loan in the office on Christmas. For Estella this became a reality. After multiple efforts to get her Fiduciam team to save her, Estella was then forced to turn this Christmas nightmare around and make the most of having a night of total freedom alone in the office… but in fact nobody is ever alone with a Fiduciam Loan. Merry Christmas you filthy animals!

Fiduciam’s Permitted Development Loan: a success story in Gloucester Docks

permitted development loan

Fiduciam is an established international lender of bridging loans, commercial mortgages and development finance. Property conversion finance, also often referred to as permitted development finance, is an important part of Fiduciam’s business.  It provides existing buildings with a new lease of life, often as residential real estate, thereby making the buildings much more energy efficient and at the same time avoiding the resource intensity of new ground-up developments. A recent successful transaction that has been fully redeemed was Brittania Warehouse a substantial permitted development loan in Gloucester Docks.

permitted development loan

The site was a previously listed disused grain warehouse in the county town of Gloucester. Having burnt down in the 1980s, it was rebuilt with a modern structural framework, yet in a traditional warehouse style, very much sympathetic to the Victorian surroundings of Gloucester Docks, Britain’s most inland port.  Being a recent building, it was no longer classed as listed, therefore able to benefit from Class O of permitted development rights. As a permitted development the property could with prior approval, but without making a planning application, change its use from commercial, offices, to residential.

The client was a repeat borrower with a good lending relationship with Fiduciam, and familiar with Fiduciam’s development finance. Lender-Borrower relationships are especially important to us, and we consequently have a large number of repeat borrowers for bridging loans, commercial mortgages, development finance and of course permitted development loans.

On this occasion the client sought a permitted development loan to acquire the property and undertake conversion works to provide 38 residential apartments. After completion, the apartments were to be rented out, to provide reasonably affordable rental accommodation which is very much in short supply in Gloucester. Fiduciam was able to provide a permitted development loan of ÂŁ4,299,000 at a competitive monthly interest rate of 0.77%, for a term of 24 months and a loan to gross development value of 70%.

This permitted development loan for Brittania Warehouse was at the heart of an ongoing regeneration plan in Gloucester. Gloucester’s regeneration plan has been in place since the early 2000s and has seen an investment of around £700 million over the last decade. Gloucester Docks, a remarkably complete example of a Victorian port, specifically has seen major development projects of residential, retail, and commercial spaces, and has become a cultural destination with two museums and regular visits by tall ships, also resulting in increased sales and rental values.

The project was completed on time and to budget with all units being rented out within a month of marketing and refinanced before the permitted development loan expiration date.

Jake McCausland, Head of Development, commented “It is always an enjoyable experience working with repeat borrowers. We were thrilled to be able to finance this exciting, value-enhancing and sustainable project with a permitted development loan. We expect property conversion to rapidly grow in importance over the coming years considering the net zero strategies of the UK and other countries in which we lend.  Furthermore, converted buildings often have a charm which new buildings find hard to replicate.  Therefore, we look very much forward to financing an increasing amount of conversion projects by granting permitted development loans to both new and existing clients in the future.” The borrower added “It’s an absolute pleasure working with Fiduciam and such a refreshing change compared to other lenders.”

Innovative renewable energy bridging loan hat trick

renewable energy bridging loan

Fiduciam is an established provider of bridging and development finance to Western European clients with diverse business needs.  Typically, Fiduciam receives financing requests from SMEs and entrepreneurs active in the real estate, care, hospitality, leisure, manufacturing, logistics and agricultural sectors, but now also the renewable energy sector.  Fiduciam’s renewable energy bridging loan is designed to finance the acquisition, and where necessary some or all of the costs of the renewable energy development.   

A case in point is a renewable energy bridging loan of €3.3 million Fiduciam granted last month to an established Dutch sustainable energy entrepreneur.

renewable energy bridging loan

The renewable energy business opportunity

Fiduciam’s client, an established entrepreneur specialising in renewable energy projects, recognised a unique opportunity to take advantage of the challenges faced by the Dutch energy grid in stabilising demand and supply. The key to grid stabilisation lies in rapidly supplying and taking off energy as required. Once the client had identified a property suitable for this project, Fiduciam was approached to finance its acquisition via a renewable energy bridging loan.

The property is a vacant greenhouse complex which benefits from a high-voltage energy grid connection. This connection is capable of swiftly supplying energy to and taking energy from the grid when required by the national energy management company TenneT.  Such high-voltage type of connection is unique and is not often installed, due to the planning requirements and other national grid priorities.

The complex spans almost 100,000 sqm of greenhouse space, containing 5,500 electricity-intensive lamps used for traditional crop cultivation until now. These lamps can be switched on (on TenneT’s request) to stabilise the grid during periods of energy oversupply.

The property also contains three combined heat and power units (CHPs), including a suitable gas connection to power them, previously used to heat the greenhouses, which will now supply energy to the grid when energy demands peak.

To provide further sustainable energy generation, Fiduciam’s client will install solar panels on the roofs of the vacant greenhouses, which cover 100,000 sqm.

To create a complete power plant, the client plans to install energy storage systems (EOS) to ensure that surplus generated sustainable energy would not go to waste in time of decreased demand.

The greenhouses will be used for a new farming technology, also referred to as dark farming, which no longer requires sunlight.

Complex valuation

Bridging loans are typically underwritten on a loan-to-value basis, and this was no different in this case, requiring the sustainable energy project to be valued.  Needless to say, the value of a sustainable energy project depends very much on the projected cash flows, and the certainty of these cash flows; the major difference being that these are harder to model than for traditional cash flows such as rental income.  In the case it hand, the grid stabilisation agreement with TenneT is a major driver of cash flow, as well as the offtake agreement for the renewable solar energy.  Despite the importance of sustainable energy, the number of valuers that can handle the valuation of such project is much smaller than those that typically value real estate projects.

Complex legal and technical aspects

The business plan’s technical nature, the technology being used (including the combined heat and power units and the energy storage systems), and the multitude of parties involved, made this transaction a daunting challenge for most lenders. Underwriting such a transaction and understanding the associated risks requires in-depth knowledge of the technology and a carefully structured assortment of security instruments.

Fiduciam’s experienced Dutch team did not shy away from the challenge and was able to find a pathway through the complex legal structure of security instruments involved in the transaction, facilitating an innovative renewable energy bridging loan for its client and managing to complete prior to the deadline stipulated in the purchase contract.

Key terms of the renewable energy bridging loan

Fiduciam offered the client a €3.3 million loan with a maturity of 12 months at an annual interest rate of 9.5% (rolled up). Recognising that the project would not attract significant cashflow in its first year, Fiduciam structured the interest into the loan amount, relieving the client of monthly interest payment concerns and allowing them to focus on their business operations.


Fiduciam provides its clients with a quick, flexible, and personalised lending process. This entrepreneurial mindset aligns with clients’ needs and makes Fiduciam an agile partner for entrepreneurs.

Director Marieke Eskens commented: “Renewable energy is becoming an increasingly important part of our clients’ businesses. Whether you are a property developer, a real estate manager or indeed an entrepreneur looking to contribute to the development of renewable energy solutions, it is not easy to find a bridging loan to finance renewable energy developments. I am very proud that our team has the flexibility and the in-house knowledge to support requests for renewable energy bridging loans. To structure this innovative renewable energy bridging loan, close cooperation between the client and the valuer was paramount. We developed a close relationship, and we hope to finance more sustainable energy projects for this client soon!”

Fiduciam provides ÂŁ7,000,000 of Scottish development finance in one month

Scottish development finance

In 2022, Fiduciam set out ambitious targets to expand it’s offering in Scotland, and in the following 12 months its Scottish team has seen enquiries reach a level to compete with markets in which Fiduciam has been established for a long time. Offering bridging loans, development finance and commercial mortgages across Scotland, the team have explored projects from the Borders to Skye, and in May alone Fiduciam granted £7,000,000 in Scottish development finance.

Scottish development finance

Offering clear examples of Fiduciam’s product offering, the funding comprised two development loans for two separate experienced developers in prime central Edinburgh. The transactions combined refinancing their existing lenders and fully funding the conversion of the properties into residential and commercial uses respectively. Fiduciam was able to facilitate both transactions at a fixed monthly interest rate of 0.83%, a term of 24 months, and a loan amount equal to 65% of the gross development value.  Fiduciam’s Scottish development finance product also caters for commercial property development, which many developers typically find harder to finance than residential development, as the gross development value partially relies on the projections in the business plan.

Both developers were new to Fiduciam’s Scottish development finance product, having been introduced through development and bridging finance brokers. They were able to demonstrate their strong track records and experience of similar projects, and in the case of the commercial development, the solidity of their business plan, to give Fiduciam’s team comfort that each project would be a successful scheme.  

Johan Groothaert, CEO commented: “Since increasing our focus on Fiduciam’s Scottish development finance business, we have not only seen a remarkable range of SMEs, house builders and businesses reach out, but the strength of these borrowers has been consistently impressive.”

Fiduciam’s experienced underwriting team, with strong local knowledge and understanding of the Scottish market, alongside their streamlined credit approval process allowed the facilities to be completed smoothly, efficiently and quickly. This process ranges from obtaining initial risk approval and completing comprehensive know-your-customer due diligence, to finalising a legal and valuation review and gaining full credit approval.

Marc Morris, Senior Underwriter commented: “High quality lending decisions are driven by strong credit fundamentals, excellent local knowledge and well-integrated professional advice.  Fiduciam combines internal and external expertise to deliver economic solutions to each deal’s unique challenges, from heritage listings and partial rebuilds to new business models and cross jurisdictional legal structures.  Our two latest Scottish development finance completions in central Edinburgh show our robust confidence in the Scottish market and our commitment to supporting dynamic local developers with strong growth potential”.

Fiduciam collaborated with Morton Fraser to finalise the legal documents in record timing. Graham & Sibbald, who have previously worked with Fiduciam on Scottish bridging and development loans, provided expert valuations of the properties. Fiduciam then worked with Emerson Bond to review and certify the development works costs funded by the loans.

Fiduciam’s Scottish development finance solutions are flexible and tailored to each client’s specific requirements, offering an attractive result in situations where urgent funding is required, to complete acquisitions or to develop both residential and commercial properties.

The Spanish development loan: what you need to know

Fiduciam is a well-established operator in the Spanish development loan market; at present it finances ongoing development projects in Spain for a combined gross development value of €444,350,000.

Fiduciam’s Spanish development loan solutions cater for both domestic and international developers, and typically finance affordable and high-end residential, holiday homes and commercial developments.

In this paper we highlight some of the development finance challenges and opportunities that are specific to Spain.


A non-Spanish developer wished to proceed with the construction of a complex consisting of fifteen holiday homes in Mallorca. They had identified a plot of land in a prime location, agreed the purchase price and obtained the necessary permits and approvals from the local authorities. However, they lacked the capital required to commence construction.


The developer approached several Spanish banks. The local banks were keen on providing financing provided that the developer pre-sold 70% of the units, and would only cover 50% of the construction costs.

Pre-selling such a large percentage of the holiday homes did not make sense for the developer, for four reasons: 

  • Off-plan sale prices tend to be lower than the sale prices achieved during later stages of the development or following practical completion;
  • Having obtained all the necessary building permits, the developer was eager to commence construction without the added delay of a marketing period;
  • As the developer had agreed with the seller of the plot to acquire it as soon as planning came through, the finance costs of acquiring the plot and then holding on to it during the marketing period for the holiday homes would have added to the finance costs; and 
  • At that moment in time the developer wished to focus on negotiating and closing the construction contracts; given the prevailing inflationary pressures, the developer’s priority was to secure construction packages, rather than marketing and pre-selling the holiday homes.

An alternative solution acceptable to the Spanish bank was for the developer to finance 50% of the construction costs through equity.  As the developer had assembled a syndicate of investors to provide the equity, the return on equity was an important consideration for them though.  Financing half of the construction costs through equity would have meant that the return on equity became too low to remain appealing to the developer’s investment partners.

The developer then started looking for alternative financing solutions and came across Fiduciam, a by then well-established private lender in the Spanish development loan market.


The developer contacted Fiduciam’s Spanish lending team and discussed their project and need for a Spanish development loan in detail. Fiduciam was impressed with the location, the design of the project, and the strong demand for holiday homes in that part of Mallorca. After conducting its due diligence, Fiduciam offered a Spanish development loan for a total amount of about €10 million.

Fiduciam’s Spanish development loan was structured in two phases, to suit the developer’s specific needs. The first phase provided the developer with about €2 million to complete the purchase of the plot of land and start site preparation works. The second phase provided an additional €8 million to finance the construction of the holiday homes and cover the loan’s interest during the construction phase.

Fiduciam’s Spanish development loan carried an interest rate of 0.90% per calendar month, which is higher than what the Spanish banks typically charge, but did not come with any non-utilisation or commitment fees, which Spanish banks typically do charge.  It must be noted that finance costs on development loans in Spain are generally higher than in Northern Europe.  Yet, despite the finance costs associated with Fiduciam’s Spanish development loan being higher, the developer and his investment partners considered Fiduciam’s solution to be more attractive to those offered by the Spanish banks.  The reasons are simple: increased flexibility, quicker turnaround times and a higher return on equity.  The higher return on equity is made possible thanks to Fiduciam being satisfied with a much smaller equity investment into the project and not requiring off-plan sales, which typically necessitate the sale price to be discounted.  And from here, it could only get better, thanks to a peculiarity of the Spanish development loan market, the insured deposit.  In fact, the developer never paid 0.90% per calendar month on the overall amount of senior secured development finance outstanding, in reality they paid just over 0.70% per calendar month.  How they achieved this, we explain below.


The developer accepted Fiduciam’s Spanish development loan offer and started construction straight away.  Whilst the site preparation works were progressing, the developer negotiated a fixed price construction contract, and then started preparing the marketing campaign. As potential buyers visited the construction site, and the development started to take shape, some buyers became eager to reserve a unit, and then to enter into a sale agreement.  The developer had prioritized the works on a unit to have a show home, to provide a better feel for the final product.  Thanks to this approach the developer could sell at full price, without having to grant a discount often associated with off-plan sales.

The developer was able to pre-sell six out of the fifteen holiday homes whilst works were ongoing. For each sale, the developer received deposits equal to 30% of the sale price.  Under Spanish law, deposits cannot be used towards the construction costs, unless they are insured (seguro de afianzamiento).  Through its years of lending in Spain Fiduciam has strong relationships with multiple specialist insurance companies that are willing to insure the deposits on development projects financed by Fiduciam. Therefore, Fiduciam assisted the developer in procuring deposit insurance, and opening the special account which is needed for the deposits.  As a result, the developer was able to use the deposits to finance the construction works; in the end they financed nearly a quarter of the construction budget. 

The holiday homes were completed within the expected timeframe and sold out within four months of achieving practical completion. The developer was able to repay the loan in full and make a healthy profit on the project; development profit margins often being higher in Spain than in other European countries.


The Fiduciam’s unique expertise in the Spanish development loan market allowed the developer to achieve their goals and complete the project successfully. When traditional Spanish banks require high pre-sale levels or a substantial equity injection to grant their development loans, Fiduciam does not. Fiduciam provides comprehensive financing solutions in Spain for developers that favour flexibility, quicker turnaround times and a maximization of their return on equity.