GSO makes tracks in Italy with tyre company unitranche

The deal, which combines bank and non-bank debt in a €70m debt facility, is the first of its kind extended to a performing company in Italy, PDI understands.

GSO Capital Partners, the credit arm of Blackstone, has supported Italian tyre distributor, Fintyre, with a unitranche loan as part of a €70 million financing package. The deal marks a first in Italy, with the company borrowing from both a bank and an alternative lender, PDI understands. The deal is also the first transaction executed via a partnership between GSO and Italian lender Intesa San Paolo, first announced in March.

Fintyre has secured €70 million in debt, comprised of a super senior revolving credit facility provided by Intesa San Paolo and a more than €50 million six-year unitranche provided by GSO Capital, a source close to the matter said. The capital will be used to refinance the business and comes after a change in Fintyre’s ownership structure earlier this year.

BlueGem Cooperatief UA, managed by UK-based private equity firm BlueGem Capital Partners, acquired 90 percent of Fintyre at a discount by purchasing 38.6 percent from Synergo SGR Spa and 20 percent from other smaller shareholders, as a result of issues at fund level rather than company performance. BlueGem, an investor in Fintyre since 2009, borrowed to help boost the company’s market position in Italy.

“The successful conclusion of the new capital investment and the reputation of Blackstone / GSO as a counterparty confirms international investor interest in Italian market leaders, as was also demonstrated by BlueGem’s increased investment in Fintyre,” commented Mauro Pessi, chief executive and chairman of Fintyre, in a statement. “These fresh financial resources will help us to accomplish our ambitious strategic plan over the next three years.”

GSO Capital declined to comment on the size of the facility. A spokesperson for BlueGem had not been able to provide further comment ahead of publication.

“Our investment is a result of our confidence in Fintyre as a market leader, as well as its world class management team and highly supportive shareholder, BlueGem,” Paulo Eapen, managing director of GSO, said. “We hope to continue to invest in the company as it drives its organic and acquisition growth plan. This investment demonstrates our focus on Italian mid-market companies and the strength of our ongoing relationship with Intesa SanPaolo, a co-lender to the transaction,” Eapen added.

GSO Capital announced that it would work in partnership with Italian bank Intesa SanPaolo in late March. The initiative aims to finance Italian mid-market borrowers with turnover of between €80 million and €350 million, Giovanni Gilli, head of Intesa’s Capital Light Bank, previously told PDI. Intesa agreed to direct its mid-market borrowers to GSO which will take a view on providing financing on a case-by-case basis. 

Marlborough Partners assisted Fintyre with the financing. White & Case and Linklaters served as legal advisors to the company and GSO, respectively.