Canada’s OMERS backs Singapore manager

Direct lender Orion Credit Capital Asia has joined forces with the institutional investor to target mid-market opportunities in the region.

Orion Credit Capital Asia, a Singapore-headquartered direct lender focused on the Asia-Pacific region, has received an undisclosed equity investment from the Ontario Municipal Employees’ Retirement System, one of Canada’s largest institutional investors.

Since 2012, the Orion management team had been the private credit arm of private equity firm Olympus Capital Asia, which focuses on mid-market opportunities in financial services, renewable energy, healthcare and other sectors in Asia. In December last year, the management team spun out to form Orion Capital Asia.

Orion Capital Asia manages investment vehicles providing medium-term secured loans to mid-market businesses owned by private equity firms and local entrepreneurs. The loans finance organic growth and acquisitions where companies have been underserved by traditional banking channels. The firm lends to diverse industry sectors and often provides bespoke financing solutions across borders.

Orion said the investment by OMERS would strengthen its existing platform and speed up its growth plans. “The opportunity set has become even more attractive because of recent disruptions in the private debt markets as a result of the covid-19 pandemic,” said Nitish Agarwal, chief investment officer of Orion Capital Asia.

In September 2018, we reported OMERS highlighting a shift to Asia-Pacific as it sought to build longstanding relationships with managers in the region. “Because you cannot do it [building up relationships] by flying in and flying out,” said Michael Rolland, a Singapore-based president and chief operating officer for Asia-Pacific at OMERS.

Canadian institutional investors have been making increasing moves into Asia-Pacific. In February last year, for example, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec announced a new $300 million investment platform with Piramal Enterprises to invest in private credit opportunities in India.