BNP Paribas closes Euro SME debt fund on €576m

The fund offers a mix of bank loans and long-term finance through a partnership with the wider BNP Paribas Group.

BNP Paribas Asset Management has held a final close of its second European SME debt fund on €576.5 million.

The vehicle, BNP Paribas Euro SME Debt Fund II received commitments from 20 investors based in France, Belgium, the UK, Italy and Japan, with approximately half being existing investors in the first fund of the series.

Like its predecessor, Fund II will provide long-term financing to SMEs in the form of senior debt as a complement to traditional bank finance. The vehicle combines a medium-term bank loan for a five-year term and a long-term fund loan of between seven and 10 years. SME Debt Fund I completed its investment period earlier this year.

BNP Paribas said SMEs have more difficulty accessing bond markets to gain the capital they need to develop.

The first fund has financed 101 SMEs, each with less than 3,000 employees and turnover of less than €50 million, in France and Italy across a range of industries.

Loans will be originated in a partnership between BNPP AM and BNP Paribas Group’s business networks in France, Belgium, Italy and Luxembourg.

David Bouchoucha, CIO of private debt and real assets at BNPP AM, said: “Against a challenging backdrop due to the impact of the coronavirus, Fund II provides SMEs with long term financing to overcome the crisis and continue their development.”