Apera closes debut fund on €750m – exclusive

The vehicle will focus on providing senior-secured loans to lower mid-market companies in North-Western Europe.

Apera Asset Management has held a final close on its debut fund, beating its target to raise €750 million.

Apera, which launched in late 2016, has been fundraising for its Apera Capital Private Debt Fund I since July 2017 with an initial target of €650 million.

The successful fundraising comes at a time when first-time funds are finding it more difficult to raise capital amid concerns about the global economy. But Apera said the background of its senior team and its structure helped it to win over investors.

“Apera’s founding partners have a long history in private debt going all the way back to the start of European private debt in 2000, and a strong track record of successful lending,” explained founding partner Klaus Petersen.

“We’ve also got our own industrial network and exceptional infrastructure for our operations which is very institutional. Being able to present a highly institutional platform to investors was a key factor in our fundraising .”

Petersen set up Apera after leaving BlueBay Asset Management, where he was a partner, and headed up the firm’s German direct lending strategy. In early 2017, the firm appointed Joanna Hislop, formerly of Park Square Capital, and David Wilmot, who joined from Babson Capital, as partners. Between them, the senior team has invested more than €5.4 billion in 160 transactions over the past 20 years.

The capital was raised from a diverse group of institutional investors in Europe and the US, with pension funds, insurance companies, asset managers and endowments making commitments.

Apera has been actively doing deals through 2018, has already invested 40 percent of Fund I and said it has a strong pipeline. The fund has a five-year lifespan and a three-year investment period.

It will invest in lower mid-market companies across the UK, DACH, France, Benelux and Nordic markets. It will take a sector agnostic approach, focusing on companies with strong market positioning and long-term growth potential and avoiding those that face binary risks. Target investments range from €15 million to €50 million.

The vehicle will focus on senior-secured investments, including unitranche, but has the ability to do some subordinated and equity co-investments. It will predominantly focus on private equity-sponsored deals but could do approximately 10 percent of its deals without a financial sponsor.