Lender of the Year
1 Blackstone Credit
Blackstone Credit’s European private credit team invested and committed more than €6 billion in 2022, lending to new businesses alongside multiple add-on financings to existing portfolio companies. This represents one of the strongest deployment years in the 16-year history of its European private credit business, despite a challenging macroeconomic backdrop of persistent inflation, aggressive central bank interest rate hikes and heightened recessionary concerns.
Senior Lender of the Year
1 Ares Management
For Ares Management, 2022 was a year of record deal introductions and deployment in its European direct lending business, which opened its doors in 2007 and targets mid-market companies with EBITDA of €10 million or more. The unit has 82 investment professionals, 17 with “extensive in-house restructuring expertise”, the firm says – something LPs are increasingly looking for as European economies enter choppy waters.
Junior Lender of the Year
1 Blackstone Credit
3 CVC Credit
In a closely fought race, Blackstone Credit beat BlackRock for the Junior Lender gong after its European private credit team had one of the strongest deployment years in the 16-year history of its European business. BlackRock came second following some notable infrastructure debt deals.
Lower Mid-Market Lender of the Year
2 Apera Asset Management
3 Equita Capital
Capza opened an office in Amsterdam to cover the Benelux region, with a first deal closed in May 2022. Capza deployed its sixth vintage (target size of €2.5 billion) and had an active year in terms of dealmaking. Since the beginning of 2022, it closed 10 transactions (including one in Belgium, one in Switzerland and two in Germany), and an additional two were signed (one in France and one in Germany). The firm has invested about 30 percent of the sixth vintage since the start of last year.
Distressed Debt and Special Situations Investor of the Year
1 LCM Partners
2 Tikehau Capital
3 Arrow Global Group
Following a successful €4.1 billion fundraise, LCM Partners is deploying its fourth generation of the COPS strategy, which continues to invest in European non-performing, re-performing and performing loans. The past 12 months was a productive period for the strategy with 44 transactions completed across nine countries, illustrating the extent of the group’s pan-European origination platform. Q4 2022 looked set to be a record quarter, with COPS 4 deployment expected to total circa €1.5 billion by year end. At the end of Q3 2022, the flagship commingled fund had delivered an unleveraged net IRR (pre-carry) of 19.54 percent.
CLO Manager of the Year
1 CVC Credit
CVC Credit’s European CLO business reached a new milestone of around €10 billion under management, up from around €8 billion at the same time in 2021. The firm saw four new issue CLOs with a total aggregate value of circa €1.7 billion, one reset priced with a total transaction value of more than €464 million and five transactions in total across Europe with a total value of nearly €2.2 billion.
Infrastructure Debt Manager of the Year
1 Macquarie Asset Management
3 AXA IM Alts
In the last 12 months, Macquarie Asset Management (MAM) raised $4.8 billion, bringing the total amount raised via the platform since 2012 to more than $17.5 billion globally. In Q4 2022, a large British insurer selected MAM to invest a further £1.5 billion ($1.8 billion; €1.7 billion) in its existing separately managed account. In August 2022, a Canadian investor selected MAM to invest $100 million into the Specialised Infrastructure Debt Fund, targeting sub-investment grade opportunities globally. To date, MAM has invested $14 billion into infrastructure debt across 160 transactions in the UK, continental Europe, the US and Australia – $2.4 billion in the last 12 months.
Real Estate Debt Manager of the Year
1 Blackstone (BREDS)
2 BNP Paribas Asset Management
3 Cheyne Capital
As of Q3 2022 YTD, Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies’ (BREDS) European loan book totalled €13 billion (loans agreed and in closing), including €3.4 billion of whole loans. Landmark deals that closed in 2022 included: during June, BREDS originated a £422 million ($507.6 million; €475.1 million) loan to Cain International to finance the acquisition and development of a 3 million square foot portfolio of big box logistics assets in the UK; in March, BREDS co-originated a £465 million loan to finance Village Hotels, a UK-focused hotel business owned by Denver-based KSL Capital Partners, a hospitality and leisure owner and investor.
Deal of the Year
1 Soho Square Capital (Technical Fire Safety Group)
3 P Capital Partners
Soho Square Capital provided structured senior debt with a minority equity element that enabled the management team of specialist glass manufacturer Technical Fire Safety Group to retain economic control of 70 percent of the business that they had helped create. This sense of ownership was a crucial factor for management in deciding to partner with Soho Square. In October 2022, after a four-year investment period, Soho Square announced it had exited its investment in TFSG to svt Holdings, an international provider of preventive passive fire protection products and installation management and restoration management services.
Fundraising of the Year
1 CVC Credit
2 Arcmont Asset Management
3 AlbaCore Capital Group
London-based lender CVC Credit held a final close of its third European direct lending fund on €6.3 billion. The vehicle, European Direct Lending Fund III, is significantly larger than its predecessor but will take on the same strategy of investing in private equity-backed transactions across Europe. The firm said it will use its network of 13 offices around Europe to originate deals. This will include deals sourced through prior deals conducted by its private equity arm, or live deals investigated by CVC PE.
Investor of the Year
1 Generali Investments
3 Border to Coast Pensions Partnership
Generali Investments’ GIP Private Debt FoF III is a multi-compartment private debt fund-of-funds that invests in direct lending, asset-based lending and special situations. It was launched in November 2021 with a target size of circa €6 billion-€7 billion. Since launch, GIP Private Debt FoF III has completed six investments in private debt funds for a total commitment of €3.6 billion. Five funds are already live and investing while one fund is under legal and operational set up.
Law Firm of the Year
1 Latham & Watkins
2 Simpson Thacher & Bartlett
3 Debevoise & Plimpton
Last year represented strong growth for Latham & Watkins’ team in Europe, when it advised on a number of high-profile transactions. Deals included advising the senior secured noteholders in connection with the successful financial recapitalisation of Haya Real Estate, a Spanish market leader in the management of real estate debt and property assets. The recapitalisation was particularly innovative, as it involved a partial redemption and exchange of the group’s existing senior secured fixed and floating rate notes for €368.4 million of new floating rate notes that mature in 2025.
Advisory and Placement Firm of the Year
1 Evercore Private Funds Group
2 Campbell Lutyens
Evercore Private Funds Group had held final closes on eight funds over the last 12 months as of November 2022, representing circa $40 billion of capital. During 2022, Evercore PFG held final closes and interim closes on two European private debt funds representing total capital raised of about $1.4 billion. Its clients include managers across the spectrum of private debt including direct lending, opportunistic corporate credit and distressed for control, as well as more niche debt strategies such as real estate debt and aircraft leasing.
Speciality Lender of the Year
1 LCM Partners
2 Incus Capital
3 North Wall Capital
LCM Partners’ Strategic Origination and Lending Opportunities (SOLO) performance remains in line with expectations. It has delivered a gross IRR of 8.3 percent to date in the strategy’s commingled fund, with no losses experienced across any origination partnerships. SOLO has continued to build relevance in the renewables space over the last year by funding the more granular assets and service equipment, rather than the larger-ticket infrastructure assets themselves. With a growing number of renewables-related investment opportunities coming to market, the firm expects renewables to remain a core theme within the strategy going forward.
SME Lender of the Year
1 White Oak
2 Zenon Asset Management
3 Oquendo Capital
White Oak, a UK affiliate of White Oak Global Advisors, is a non-bank lender in the UK, providing capital to support SMEs. From November 2021 to November 2022, White Oak supported a total of 3,500 SMEs with £362 million of funding. This was a 19 percent uplift on the previous year, with 30 percent of those being ‘new to firm’ customers. In its latest full quarter alone (Q3 2022), White Oak provided more than £125 million of funding to UK SMEs – a record three-month period of lending for the firm – that brings its total funding value year to date to £280 million.
Responsible Investor of the Year
1 Tikehau Capital
2 Bridgepoint Credit
Tikehau Capital has been supporting social endeavours. In 2022, it injected capital to support economic recovery and innovation as the world grappled with the after-effects of covid-19. It began managing the Belgian Recovery Fund, which is allocating up to €350 million to finance Belgian companies negatively impacted by covid-19. It was also entrusted by Pensioenfonds Detailhandel, the pension fund for the retail sector in the Netherlands, to manage a €100 million impact private debt mandate.