Asset manager Ninety One has held a first close of its credit opportunities fund on €130 million.
The vehicle, Ninety One European Credit Opportunities Fund I, will be managed by co-portfolio managers Christophe Rust and Lei Lei, and will provide flexible credit to medium-sized, performing borrowers.
Sponsorless transactions will be the focus of the fund, with deals originated directly from sponsorless firms in need of capital. Ninety One said its focus on the less crowded sponsorless space was a major draw for LPs.
The fund has received capital from a range of institutional and sophisticated investors in the UK, Europe, Latin America and South Africa. UK pension funds, a South African insurer, high-net-worth investors and family offices constitute the investor base at first close.
Ninety One plans to hold a second close in Q4 2022, and the fund is expected to reach its final close in H1 2023. It has already developed a pipeline and expects to complete its first deals in Q4 2022.
In a statement, co-portfolio managers Rust and Lei said: “Our deal origination pipeline continues to grow as demand for alternative credit from European SME borrowers accelerates in the context of ongoing bank retrenchment and economic uncertainty. For those borrowers that are too small to access the capital markets and do not want to raise dilutive equity, our fund can offer an attractive funding alternative.”