Europe Report 

The latest trends across European private credit markets

After the strong performance of private credit markets post-pandemic, European markets saw a slowdown in 2023 with fundraising and deal volumes falling back. But market participants expect a stronger year in 2024. Our regional guide profiles all the major markets, and explains why France is consolidating its place as number one for private debt in Europe.




Investors are opening their eyes to the direct lending opportunities in Europe. In our PDI Europe Report 2023, we survey the current state of the debt market across Europe and find out why France has overtaken the UK for the first time in terms of deals. Global fund managers are also looking further afield for deals, with some of the larger private debt funds considering opening offices in Warsaw.

Regional Guide: Fewer deals but a lucrative opportunity set

Private debt is moving beyond pure sponsor-driven M&A in Europe as financing options continue to grow.

Regional Guide: United Kingdom slips back

The UK has dropped behind France for the first time in terms of deals.

Regional Debt Guide: Benelux speeds up

This fast-growing region presents strong direct lending opportunities.

Regional Debt Guide: France takes first place

The country is now the most active private debt market in Europe.

Regional Debt Guide: Nordics ‘last bank stronghold’

Banks remain strong in Scandinavia, so debt funds are having to learn to compete on their own terms.

Regional Debt Guide: Greater challenges ahead for Germany?

The German market held up well in 2022, but 2023 could prove more challenging.

Regional Debt Guide: Private lenders find space in Central and Eastern Europe

Western GPs are honing in on the region and looking to open offices in Warsaw.

Regional Debt Guide: Funds steal a march in Southern Europe

Private funds are taking a larger share from banks as deal volumes grow.

Key trends: Direct lenders are targeting Europe as banks retrench

UK falls to second place in terms of debt transactions but the new market leader faces headwinds.

The new-look distressed opportunity in Europe

Inflationary pressures and higher interest rates are expected to drive broad-based distressed activity in coming months, even in sectors regarded as safe havens.

Despite unprecedented macroeconomic uncertainty, private credit funds in Europe enjoyed the busiest Q2 on record this year in terms of deal volumes, as alternative lenders stepped into the gap left by banks and public markets. Our Europe Report 2022 looks at how this shifting landscape has thrown up a set of opportunities for debt investors. Check out our European Regional Guide to see how the different markets compare.

Regional Guide: Europe’s ‘incredible’ growth

The European private debt market was busier than ever in H1, despite the macroeconomic challenges.

Regional Guide: United Kingdom

While dealflow remains strong, lenders are cautious as we head towards the end of the year.

Regional Guide: France

The market in France remains very competitive between banks and credit funds.

Regional Guide: Germany

Private debt proved its resilience in the first half, compared with the increasingly volatile public markets.

Regional Guide: Benelux

Benelux has built a strong fourth position in European deal volumes, supported by strong fundamentals.

Regional Guide: Nordics

Sweden and Denmark continued to be the main drivers of dealflow in the first half.

Regional Guide: Central and Eastern Europe

The retrenchment of banks is proving a boon for private debt markets, especially in Poland.

Regional Guide: Southern Europe

SMEs are increasingly keen to work with private lenders, with Spain a standout market.

Europe: Seven key trends

The shifting landscape is throwing up a set of openings for European investors.

Renewables reassessed: Eyeing the energy opportunity

With energy security top of mind, the opportunity set for private credit in green energy generation across Europe has moved up the agenda for both funds and their investors.

European debt: Opportunity beckons as banks retrench

Record deal levels in Europe point to a market that is rising to the macroeconomic challenges.

The search for stability

European debt activity is consolidating around non-cyclical sectors, as lenders seek out stable revenues.

European markets are rebounding fast with opportunities growing across the continent. Private Debt Investor’s first-ever Regional Guide to Europe charts country trends across the continent and portrays an optimistic picture of a maturing market where debt funds are continuing to take market share from banks, with Germany, Spain and the Benelux region among the stand-out performers.

Regional Guide to Europe: UK

The UK remains the most mature of Europe’s direct lending markets but share fell back slightly in H1.

Regional Guide to Europe: France

Direct lenders are competing strongly with local banks as private debt had some of its biggest months ever in France.

Regional Guide to Europe: Germany

Senior and unitranche deals saw the best H1 since 2012 as debt funds continued to increase their share versus banks.

Regional Guide to Europe: Benelux

The region is only just behind Europe’s three biggest markets amid sharp growth in deal volume.

Regional Guide to Europe: Southern Europe

Both Spain and Italy have rich potential, say fund managers, as deal opportunities continue to expand in the region.

Regional Guide to Europe: Nordics

From a slow start, debt is gradually finding its feet in the region as investors and GPs embrace the asset class.

Regional Guide to Europe: Central and Eastern Europe

Warsaw-based manager CVI’s first close in Poland augurs well for one of Europe’s most promising markets.

Average fund sizes soar in first half

Three-quarters of European funds beat their targets in H1.

Five key trends in European private debt

European private debt remains resilient while investors prioritise differentiated strategies.

European debt funds prove their worth

European fundraising has remained resilient despite covid-19, with lenders taking market share from banks. We take a look at how fund managers are faring.

Europe powers ahead as deal volumes hit record

The UK remains out in front but opportunities are growing across the continent.

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