Exclusive: Kartesia signs second deal in UK push

The firm hopes to expand its UK footprint as other lenders remain overinvested in the country.

Pan-European investor Kartesia has completed its second UK deal in two months as it seeks to grow its footprint in the country.

The firm told Private Debt Investor it has completed a €29 million senior loan facility to Firstcom Europe, a cloud telecoms provider operating in the UK, Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Poland. The finance package will support Firstcom’s ongoing buy-and-build strategy and enable it to refinance its existing debt.

Kartesia sourced the deal from a debt advisor after a previous bank and fund process was put on hold due to the covid-19 crisis, with the firm saying it saw opportunities to do deals while other firms were focusing on their existing portfolios instead of completing new transactions.

The transaction follows on from a loan to The Clearway Group, a tech solutions provider, at the end of June, which was Kartesia’s first UK investment from its Senior Opportunities I fund. Another refinancing deal, the £26 million ($34 million; €29 million) package comprised of term loans and a capital expenditure and acquisition facility.

Both deals were led by Nick Holman, who joined Kartesia in February from Santander to head its UK expansion.

Speaking to PDI, he said: “There’s lots of processes on hold right now and the market is only just starting up again and there’s an opportunity to get things done. Bank appetite for new deals is limited and so funds have the chance to come in and help complete transactions.”

Kartesia is also intending to grow its UK business despite the looming deadline for the EU and UK to finalise a trade deal before January 2021 when the UK’s transition period comes to an end.

Jaime Prieto, managing partner at Kartesia, said: “Many direct lenders and banks are over-exposed to the UK and so are limiting the numbers of deals they do there but we are currently less than 5 percent invested in the UK as previously we saw better opportunities in continental Europe.

“A lot of lenders are not looking to increase their investment in a market they are already over-exposed to and so we took the decision last year that with our latest direct lending fund that we would increase out investments in the UK.”