The Ardent Companies, the US-based real estate investment firm, is expanding its debt platform into the UK and appointed Sunny Lakhtaria to lead the new business.

Ardent, which launched its UK business back in 2021, said Lakhtaria will head the UK platform that will target both “fresh lending and debt buying and will be across a range of different structured options”.

Ardent said the UK debt business is looking to be active across all real estate sectors, with an anticipated focus on residential development.

Lakhtaria is a former partner of Urban Exposure, a member of the executive and credit committees, and more recently set up and launched a real estate bridge financier for an AIM-listed lender.

Ardent, which has real estate lending experience in the US and has originated over $2bn (€1.9bn) of loans, said the move into lending in the UK follows a successful period for The Ardent Companies UK since its launch.

Since its inception, The Ardent Companies UK has acquired Touchwood shopping centre in Solihull and the Royal Exchange in London. It has also established a national industrial and logistics portfolio of over 2.25m sqft.

Richard Benson, managing director of The Ardent Companies UK, said: “Ardent’s lending activity is centred on using its investment expertise and structures to deliver financing facilities that meet borrowers’ needs, an approach that has generated considerable repeat business.

“With the appointment of Sunny, we have a proven operator from the highest tier who is perfectly placed to bring the same success to the UK team, and we look forward to establishing one of the market’s foremost lending and debt acquisition platforms.”

Matt Shulman, CEO and managing partner of The Ardent Companies, said: “Expanding our lending capabilities to the UK has been an aspiration since we entered the market over two years

“This is another pillar of our growth in the UK and underlines our commitment following the success of the investments we have made here to date.”

Lakhtaria said Ardent’s “long record in real estate lending underlines its capabilities, and the extension of the platform into the UK will draw on this experience to deliver financing solutions that truly meet the challenges and opportunities in the market”.