BNPP IP announces final close of European SME debt fund

BNP Paribas Investment Partners has announced the €500m million final close of the recently launched European SME Debt Fund.

The fund aims to finance small and medium sized enterprises in Europe through a strategy combining bank lending and fund financing.

Among institutional investors that have brought assets to the fund remain AG2R La Mondiale, BNP Paribas Cardif, CNP Assurances, l’ERAFP, Federal Finance Gestion (on behalf of Suravenir), La France Mutualiste, Groupama, MACIF, MAIF, Pensio B OFP and the BNP Paribas Group, as well as the European Investment Fund (‘EIF’), part of the European Investment Bank Group, which helps European SMEs to access financing.

The Fund offers SMEs a medium term bank loan (of about 5 years), with a long-term loan provided by the fund (7-10 years)

Some 100 to 150 SME and small mid-caps will benefit from the fund.

David Bouchoucha, head of Institutional and Laurent Gueunier, head of Alternative Debt Management, at BNP Paribas Investment Partners, commented: “We are very pleased to have completed a successful fundraising, reaching our target level of €500m at first close.

“This confirms the strong interest from investors in an asset class that offers a compelling investment opportunity. SME debt has a low default risk, a high recovery rate and enables investors to diversify their credit portfolios, while for insurers; it has the additional benefit of an attractive Solvency Capital Requirement risk-return profile.

“This success is testament to BNP Paribas Investment Partners’ long experience of private debt, having been present in the market since 2001 and playing a leading role in establishing market standards for private placements.”

Pier Luigi Gilibert, chief executive of the European Investment fund (EIF), said: “The EIF has contributed to the conception and final close of the €500m BNP Paribas European SME Debt Fund.

“The fund aims to channel institutional investors’ resources towards the financing of European enterprises, with a focus on France, Belgium and Italy. It accords with the EIF’s role and strategy, as well as the purpose of the EREM (EIB Group Risk Enhancement Mandate) to enhance access to finance.”

BNPP IP managed fixed income assets of over €28bn as of 30 June 2016.

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