New French loan fund for BNP Paribas

Following the launch of its Novo fund five years ago, the asset manager has unveiled a successor to continue backing French mid-market companies.

BNP Paribas Asset Management (BNPP AM), the investment arm of French finance giant BNP Paribas, has launched the open-ended BNP Paribas Novo 2018 fund, a business loan fund that will help French medium-sized companies to expand.

The fund is a successor to the Novo 1 fund, which was launched in 2013. In common with that fund, the latest vehicle is backed by the FFA, the French insurance federation, and CDC, the French public sector investment fund.

In a statement, BNPP AM said the new fund could invest €264 million over the next three years. It will invest through euro private placements and direct loans and has already completed its first deal by way of a bond issue from Groupe Pierre et Vacances-Center Parcs, the holiday village and residences businesses.

Capital raised for the fund will be deployed according to what BNPP AM described as a “rigorous investment process” with each loan based on a project’s credit quality and environmental, social & governance (ESG) criteria.

Novo 2018 is managed by BNPP AM’s Private Debt & Real Assets team, which has around 50 investment professionals in Paris, London and New York and which has a lending track record dating back to 2006. The team is headed by David Bouchoucha, who has been with BNP Paribas for over a decade.