BNP Paribas holds €345m first close for SME fund

The second SME loan fund from BNPP AM will provide growing SMEs with a combination of fund and traditional bank finance.

BNP Paribas Asset Management has held a first close on its second European SME Debt Fund at €345 million.

The first close was completed in late December and attracted 13 institutional investors from across Europe and Asia.

BNP Paribas European SME Debt Fund 2 will finance small and medium-sized companies in Europe through a combination of bank lending and fund financing. Its predecessor vehicle, launched in 2016, reached its €500 million target and has financed more than 100 SMEs. BNPP AM expects the new fund to reach its target of €500-600 million during Q1.

The vehicle will finance SMEs through senior debt or deferred amortisation alongside conventional bank finance. BNPP AM said SMEs often have difficulty accessing bond markets and that fund finance can allow them to acquire the additional resources needed for their development.

Assets in the fund derive from a partnership between BNPP AM and BNP Paribas Group’s networks in France, Belgium, Italy and Luxembourg.

The vehicle will be managed by the BNPP AM private debt and real assets investment group, led by David Bouchoucha and consisting of 50 investment professionals managing more than €9 billion of clients’ assets.