KKR-backed Pillarstone begins Sirti turnaround plan

Pillarstone has acquired a 100% stake in the Italian telecoms company, assuming its debt obligations.

The KKR credit-backed platform Pillarstone has secured a 100 percent stake and taken over the debt obligations of Italian telecommunication network company Sirti from a number of private equity funds, private debt funds and local banks.

Milan-headquartered Sirti was established in 1921 and is one of the largest managers of mobile network operations in the country. Pillarstone said it will appoint a new management team to implement a restructuring of the company’s industrial operations.

John Davison, chief executive of Pillarstone, joins the board as chairman and Roberto Pisa, a partner at private equity group BC Partners, will serve as chief executive.

A spokesman for KKR declined to disclose the amount paid for the acquisition, although local media has reported that Pillartsone will manage the company’s €285 million debt and has established a five-year repayment plan.

Pillarstone was established last year to assist Italian banks in managing underperforming assets in the corporate, real estate and shipping industries. Davison was brought on board from the Royal Bank of Scotland to lead the platform. In June, Pillarstone appointed Pablo Crespo, formerly of AnaCap Credit Opportunities and Jonathan Conway, ex-head of restructuring in Europe, Middle East and America at Barclay’s.

Earlier this year, Pillarstone expanded its platform into Greece, taking over the management of NPL portfolios valued at €1.2 billion from two of the country’s largest banks, Alpha Bank and Eurobank.

“We will now be able to work with the company, its employees, customers and suppliers to revitalise Sirti not only in Italy, but also internationally,” Davison said.