Direct lending boom under review at Debtwire’s first dedicated European mid-market forum
Debtwire hosted its first European mid-market forum yesterday. The current role of bank finance in the mid-market, alternative financing structures and the US impact on future European deals were some of the key themes of the day.
The primary mid-market landscape has been dominated by UK and Germany over the past 12 months with a robust auction pipeline and plenty of debt financing opportunities. Direct lenders have been busy fundraising while the retrenchment of banks hasn’t materialised to the extent that some predicted, providing a healthy level of competition in the market as well as a number of bank and fund alliances.
The unitranche loan is the doyenne of direct lending and continues to lure corporate borrowers across the spectrum.
A cGBP 140m loan for thetrainline.com was one of the largest unitranches so far with a club of banks and funds keen to stump up the cash for the UK ticketing service provider. There was also the sizeable unitranche for UK retailer Phase Eight for dividend recap and expansion plans. At the other end of the scale, German confectioner Hussel went for the specialty loan for just cEUR 30m.
Denise Ko Genovese, editor mid market, Debtwire Europe, said: “We were especially excited to unearth mid-market lending opportunities in Europe and discuss the challenges and nuances faced by lenders and borrowers alike.”