Reuters: European refinancing at ‘record rate’

European buyouts have largely avoided the wall of maturities that had been expected to wreak havoc on the market through 2015. 

Private equity firms are refinancing their European-based investments at a “record rate”, according to a Reuters report filed Wednesday that cites S&P data.

Through the first nine months of 2013, buyouts have refinanced €23 billion of European company debts through the leveraged loan and high-yield markets, according to the report. The total represents a 66 percent improvement over the previous year.

The flood of refinancings comes as a relief to those who anticipated the market would be incapable of handling the supposed wall of refinancings that would result from the pre-crisis buyout boom. As credit has remained available, firms have managed to amend and extend their portfolio companies’ existing debt loads, thereby avoiding €50 billion in leveraged loan maturities that had been set to expire between 2012 and 2015, according to a 2011 Clifford Chance report.

Earlier this month, BGP Investments announced that it would refinance its German residential real estate portfolio with a €406 million securitised loan. The refinancing covers approximately 60 percent of the €1 billion real estate portfolio managed by BGP Asset Management, according to a statement. The refinanced portion of the portfolio includes approximately 10,000 units, most of which are located in Berlin, Kiel and the Cologne-Düsseldorf region.

Outside of Europe, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts’ portfolio company First Data recently made headlines with its plans to repay a portion of the approximately $2 billion in 11.5 percent senior payable-in-kind notes due 2016. The remaining notes will be exchanged for 14.5 percent senior PIK notes due 2019, the company announced in a statement.