Chenavari launches European direct lending vehicle

In February, the London-based firm hired several executives from Palio Capital Partners to boost its mid-market direct lending capabilities. 

Chenavari Investment Managers’ credit arm is planning the launch of a European direct lending fund.

The firm has not set a firm target for the vehicle, according to a source with knowledge of the situation, though on Monday Bloomberg reported that the fund may target $1 billion.

The firm made several key hires with direct lending experience earlier this year. Mike Henebery, Jerry Wilson and Darren Gibson – formerly founders of Palio Capital Partners – joined Chevanari to help the firm expand into UK mid-market lending, according to a February statement.

On the European direct lending vehicle, the trio will focus on UK SMEs as members of a larger team, the source said.

“We will offer SMEs senior debt and mezzanine loans with unprecedented flexibility around cash flows. Our model is designed to be collaborative with private equity investors, providing all of the acquisition finance on a deal from a single source,” Wilson said in a statement at the time of his hiring.

In addition to its European direct lending fund, the firm also filed four credit hedge funds with the US Securities and Exchange Commission last week. Chenavari European Opportunistic Credit Fund had raised at least $65.7 million as of 24 April, according to the filing, which lists Martin Laidlow and John Ackerly as directors of the vehicle and Grosvenor Capital Management as a promoter.

Laidlow, Ackerly and Grosvenor also appear on SEC documents for Chenavari European Structured Credit Fund, which had raised $62.76 million as of April 24. The firm has not disclosed a target for either fund. 

London-based Chenavari was founded in 2008. The firm specialises in credit and debt investments and had $4 billion in assets under management as of February, according to a statement. The firm’s active strategies include European asset-backed securities, long-short corporate credit, European bank regulatory capital credit opportunities and real estate direct lending.