Tuesday 17 September 2019

State-backed SME lender BlueBay sells loan book to management

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Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

AN SME lender that was backed to launch here by the State in 2013 has sold its entire loan book and will exit the market.

BlueBay Ireland Corporate Credit I (BICC) vehicle, backed by the Irish Strategic Investment Fund (Isif) to the tune of €200m, closed to new lending at the start of this year. It had changed its trading name in Ireland to 77gsl Ireland in 2017.

BICC was one of three funds backed in 2013 by ISIF at a time when the flow of credit from the main banks was seen as inadequate.

By the time it stopped making new loans the fund had issued €400m of credit across 33 transactions to 22 different borrowers.

BlueBay's customers are at the bigger end of the SME scale and included fast-food business Abrakebabra, Mater Private hospital and healthcare company Aras Sláinte.

The portfolio of loans has now been sold to Elm Corporate Credit (DAC), which a fund managed by DunPort Capital Management - which in turn is led by the team that set up and has been running BICC, including former Anglo-Irish Bank executives Pat Walsh and Ross Morrow.

The sale was confirmed by 77gsl in a notice to the Irish Stock Exchange.

It also said proceeds of the sale would be applied in accordance with the terms and conditions of a €90m bond, which will fall due in 2021.

It's understood none of the customer loans issued by BICC fall due later than the bonds.

Earlier this year DunPort raised €283m for its Elm Corporate Credit fund, and confirmed it had secured funds from a handful of domestic institutions.

According to sources, ESB's pension scheme, which is separate from the State company itself and is overseen by trustees, is a backer. It had previously backed BICC.

Irish Independent

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