Lender of the year
1. Tikehau Capital
2. Ares Management
3. AlbaCore Capital Group
Tikehau Capital launched what it claims is the first impact debt fund in the market, as it put ESG front and centre, as well as its fifth direct lending fund in 2020.
The firm also launched its CLO VI and took private debt assets under management to €8.9 billion, a 50 percent increase between Q4 2017 and Q3 2020.
The group said it has continued to grow its AUM despite covid-19. Year-on-year AUM growth was 9.8 percent in the first half of 2020, bringing its total to €25.7 billion. It had hoped to reach more than €27.5 billion in assets by the end of 2020 and said it is on track to reach €35 billion by the end of 2022.
Senior lender of the year
1. Park Square Capital
2. Ares Management
London-headquartered Park Square Capital won the award after investing more than $2 billion in 35 companies in Europe and the US over the past 12 months.
Investments include Inflexion’s acquisition of Aspen Pumps (sole unitranche provider) and the purchase of PharmaZell by Bridgepoint (anchored the senior facility), owner of PEI Media. Park Square has also expanded in Europe with a new Frankfurt office in Germany.
The covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated the relative safety of the private credit market, according to Robin Doumar, managing partner of Park Square Capital. “The ability to show a track record of reliable credit selection through multiple crises is key, and we expect the pandemic to spark a flight to such quality debt managers,” he told Private Debt Investor.
Junior lender of the year
Pemberton is currently fundraising for its Strategic Credit Fund II, having raised more than €1.1 billion to date as it seeks total commitments of between €2 billion and €2.5 billion to invest in senior debt, unitranche, second lien, mezzanine, PIK holdco and preferred equity.
The London-based lender is investing in larger companies seeking lower levels of leverage with a more defensive capital structure. The strategy was reportedly developed after enquiries from institutional investors across Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific for a more defensive European mid-market investment opportunity.
The predecessor fund was delivering an unlevered gross IRR of 14.9 percent as of 30 September 2020.
Lower mid-market lender of the year
2. CORDET Capital Partners
3. Bright Capital
Kartesia increased its team by 30 percent in the past year, expanding its footprint across the region, and now has more than 50 professionals.
It has gained a reputation for “off-market” deals and has also ramped up its specialism in sponsorless deals – these accounted for 60 percent of its KSO I fund but around 84 percent of KCO V.
Kartesia is also building its UK footprint, completing two deals in two months last August led by Nick Holman, who joined Kartesia in February 2020 from Santander to head its UK expansion.
Distressed debt investor of the year
1. LCM Partners
2. Arcmont Asset Management
LCM Partners’ COPS strategy has deployed €2.8 billion of capital across 143 transactions. While covid-19 caused a slowdown in the European loan sales market in 2020, the past 12 months to September 2020 has been another active period for the strategy, with €527 million of capital deployed across 39 portfolios. The strategy achieved a gross IRR of 11.5 percent at the end of Q3. The London-based manager has secured a reported €3.4 billion for its Credit Opportunities 4 distressed-debt strategy and it is also raising a Strategic Origination and Lending Opportunities (SOLO) fund with a target of €1 billion.
CLO manager of the year
1. CVC Credit Partners
2. Permira Debt Managers
3. Spire Partners
CVC Credit Partners had a prolific year despite covid-19 headwinds, with the firm’s Cordatus XVII closing in June on $320 million and then Cordatus XVIII priced at €382.5 million in September.
The latter was upsized from €300 million given the level of demand across tranches, including multiple tranches covered more than three times.
Infrastructure debt manager of the year
1. Macquarie Infrastructure Debt Investment Solutions
2. Allianz Global Investors
3. AXA IM
Macquarie Infrastructure Debt Investment Solutions raised more than $1.8 billion for its UK infrastructure debt strategy in 2020, mainly from UK pensions and insurers.
The firm’s second UK inflation-linked fund raised $289 million alongside more than $3.2 billion from separately managed accounts. The firm also invested $1.1 billion globally during the year.
Real estate debt manager of the year
1. Cheyne Capital
2. AXA IM
In 2020, Cheyne Capital launched the sixth and seventh vintages of CRECH, its $3 billion real estate lending programme.
The new funds launched with around $650 million, with circa
$300 million already deployed into senior loans. Gross, unlevered IRRs on these new loans range from 9.25 percent to 15 percent with LTVs/LTGDVs ranging from 35 percent to 65 percent.
Deal of the year
1. Pemberton (Hermes UK)
2. Tikehau Capital (Talan)
3. Bridgepoint Credit (EQT Credit)
Pemberton provided the financing which allowed Advent International to acquire Hermes UK, a parcel delivery firm, between June and July 2020 – a time when financing on the public and private capital markets was far from readily available.
It was Pemberton’s fourth investment with Advent and positions Hermes UK to take advantage of the growth in home shopping.
Fundraising of the year
1. Crescent Capital Group
3. Arrow Global
The US-based fund manager raised €1.6 billion at the final close of its second European speciality lending fund, Crescent European Specialty Lending Fund II. The fund was oversubscribed and significantly larger than its target size of €1 billion and its initial hard-cap.
The fund focuses on building a diversified portfolio of private secured debt securities issued by European companies with a focus on directly originated transactions.
Established in 1991, Crescent has been investing in Europe since 1993 and its Crescent European Specialty Lending strategy has committed more than €1 billion in total across more than 30 deals in the region
Investor of the year
1. European Investment Fund
2. Allianz Investment Management
3. Golding Capital Partners
In a most challenging year, the European Investment Fund was expecting to make no fewer than 35 private debt fund commitments for a total of €1.4 billion, mainly through its €1 billion EFSI Private Credit Tailored for SMEs programme.
The European Investment Fund said that it wanted to send a strong signal to the market by staying committed through covid-19, and even backed two first-time managers in Germany.
Law firm of the year
2. Paul Hastings
3. Debevoise & Plimpton
An advisor to 41 of the PDI 50 – our ranking of the industry’s top fundraising GPs – Dechert beefed up its private debt teams in the UK, Ireland and Germany in 2020 with numerous senior hires.
It also launched new initiatives to assist clients with covid and Brexit-related issues, while its leveraged finance team closed more than 20 deals with a value of more than £3.5 billion ($4.7 billion; €3.8 billion).
Placement agent of the year
1. Evercore Private Funds Group
2. Campbell Lutyens
3. Ely Place Partners
Evercore Private Funds Group held a final close on €3.5 billion for Permira Debt Managers’ fourth Capital Solutions Fund, beating a target of €2.5 billion.
It was also mandated on a further three European private debt mandates yet to reach final closings with a cumulative target of around $7.1 billion.
Specialty finance lender of the year
1. North Wall Capital
2. Kreos Capital
3. Columbia Lake Partners
Via its consumer-claims focused fund, North Wall Capital has provided funding to more than 5,000 consumers who were affected by the VW diesel emissions scandal in Germany. This has provided the consumers with funding that enabled them to seek recourse against the German automotive manufacturer. North Wall Capital is also supporting related claims in the UK against other manufacturers that are alleged to have manipulated their diesel emissions tests.
SME lender of the year
1. Beechbrook Capital
2. Idinvest Partners
3. North Wall Capital
Beechbrook Capital posted successful exits from three portfolio companies in 2020 despite the fallout from the covid-19 pandemic.
These exits together returned around €64 million to investors at a weighted average money multiple of 1.75x.
In March 2020, Beechbrook Capital also managed to secure a final close on its second UK sponsorless fund at £130 million ($173 million; €143 million). Beechbrook Capital said that it has completed eight investments since its first close in 2019, deploying around £70 million in the process.