Permira aims to double credit AUM within four years

In seeking to build a ‘diversified asset management business’ UK-based manager Permira has rebranded its credit arm as it looks to expand into new geographies and strategies.

The former Permira Debt Managers has rebranded as Permira Credit and is aiming to substantially boost its private debt activities with closer alignment to its private equity business as well as planned expansion into new areas.

In an exclusive interview with Private Debt Investor, Permira Credit chief executive officer and partner James Greenwood said that – while operating within a regulatory framework that demands a certain distinction between private equity and debt and protecting confidential information – there were ways in which the credit arm could better exploit contacts and relationships within the wider business, particularly beyond Europe in Asia-Pacific and the US.

He said that Permira was a strong brand with investors around the world that were increasingly interested in expanding into credit. Greenwood further noted the success that some North American GPs have had in cross-selling equity and credit products to their investor base and believes that Permira is well placed to do the same.

The bulk of Permira’s 15 offices are in Europe, but part of the growth of Permira Credit will focus on North America and Asia-Pacific. This would be a “natural extension” of the business, according to Greenwood.

The firm is also considering expanding the range of its private debt activities. At present, it focuses on three areas: CLOs, structured credit and direct lending. Greenwood said expansion would likely be into “tangential” areas such as mezzanine/PIK and opportunistic/special situations. The firm has ruled out going into pure distressed or ‘loan to own’ type investing.

Over the next four years, Permira is aiming to grow its credit assets under management from around €10 billion to €20 billion. However, Greenwood described this as a “conservative” ambition and indicated that more rapid growth was achievable.

At the same time as unveiling its rebranding, Permira Credit has also announced the retirement at the end of this year of Thomas Kyriakoudis, who is a partner and has been with the firm for 12 years. In a statement, the firm said he had “long wanted to explore entrepreneurial opportunities”. Five members of the team are being promoted to managing director: Andrew Lawson, Claire Harwood, Dan Hatcher, Jens Bauer and Jihan Saeed.

Reflecting on the changes, Greenwood said: “This in my view is Permira saying it wants to build a diversified asset management business and sees credit as a key pillar of that ambition.” Primarily known as a private equity firm, Permira has raised €44 billion for 17 buyout and growth funds since it was established in 1985 as Schroder Ventures.