Ascendant Project Finance (APF)

Investment Banking Firm focused on tourism and real estate projects in South East Europe

Ascendant Project Finance (APF) was established in 2010 by ASCENDANT in partnership with Mr. Tarik Bilabegović. Mr. Bilalbegović has spent the previous eleven years working in the role of a Vice President with East West Financial Services based in Washington DC, with a specialized focus on raising financing for the leisure and real estate projects in emerging markets.)

Approach

APF‘s task is to provide its clients with utmost professionalism and creativeness to maximize their return on investment through “financial engineering”. APF’s “financial engineering” of projects is a highly creative and specialized process that involves working with clients to position, structure, create, and present projects in a way that enhances their profitability and viability in relationship with capital markets and upscale hotel management companies. Only correctly positioned hotel projects create returns for our clients.

APF remains directly involved in most stages of project development, through its capitalization and into early operational stages. In some cases APF can stay involved post project completion through the asset management operational role.

Core Competencies

Business Plan

Produce business plan to test feasibility and analyze highest and best use of available parcel by comparing inputs, all relevant variables, client desire, and optimizing IRR returns.

Financial Modeling

Provide model outlining developments aspects and anticipated costs allowing for running scenarios and sensitivities analysis before costs are incurred; thus mitigating development risks.

Strategy Planning Positioning

Provide recommendation on the most cost-effective mix of hotel and real estate units and sizes with attention to correct strategic anchor brands and effect on real estate pricing in master plan.

Capital Raising

Raise and negotiate debt and equity financing that is acceptable to client with the fiduciary responsibility to protect their investment and development interests.

Hotel Brand Operator Search

Identify, select, and negotiate hotel management agreements on behalf of our clients, including comparing full brand contract versus 3rd party operator under franchise option.

Selected Experience

Advisor to Qatari Diar, State Sovereign Wealth Fund, Qatar

From 2011 through 2014 APF has acted as a financial advisor to Qatari Diar on their €350MM Four Seasons Resort and Residences development in Tivat, Montenegro. APF conducted initial RFP with hotel operators, run all budgeting and financial modeling for IRR sensitivities based on debt scenarios, and served as in-house advisor on regional market.

Investment Banker to Lake Group, Bosnia

From 2012 through 2013 APF structured Marriott Franchise and Interstate Management contracts and raised partial financing for 133 rooms Marriott Courtyard Hotel currently under development in Sarajevo (opening Summer 2015).

Investment Banker to South European Investment Company (SEIC), Bosnia

From 2013 through 2014 APF structured Marriott Franchise and Interstate Management contracts and raised financing for 75 suites Residence Inn by Marriott Hotel that opened on November 25th 2014 in Sarajevo.

Investment Banker to Neimar Engineering, Russian Federation

APF is currently structuring €55MM syndicate debt financing for 424 rooms Sheraton Resort (€115MM total budget) in development in Budva, Montenegro.

Asset Manager for Hotel Bristol, Bosnia

From 2013 through 2014 APF installed new positioning for Hotel Bristol which resulted in 73% annual profit increase. Sarajevo was named as one of the 15 best places to visit in 2014 by National Geographic and Hotel Bristol was named as “best luxury hotel to stay“.

Investment Banker to Al Shiddi Group International, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Al Shiddi Group has developed Sarajevo City Center project consisting of 224 room luxury hotel, office tower, and shopping mall. APF is currently raising required financing and structuring Starwood Westin Franchise and Interstate Management contracts.

Advisory engagements with owners of renown leisure and real estate brands

Ritz Carlton Resort, Grand Cayman, Four Seasons Resort at Emerald Bay, Great Exuma, Bahamas, Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo, and Four Seasons Hotel and Residences in Denver, Colorado.

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