first_imgPrivate credit is now firmly established as a mainstream investment by institutional investors with the asset class on track to reach $1trn (€0.9trn) of assets under management by 2020, according to new research.Europe has become a core region for private credit investors with Germany leading the way, according to the survey of 70 private credit managers, conducted by the Alternative Credit Council – the private credit affiliate of the Alternative Investment Management Association (AIMA) – and law firm Dechert.Respondents managed an aggregate $470bn in private credit investments.Over 70% of all private credit committed capital came from institutional investors, according to the study, at a time when the “historically unprecedented liquidity support” provided by central banks in recent years was likely to end. Of the committed capital, 38% came from North American investors and 31% from Europe, excluding the UK.Much of the growth in European lending over the past year came from Germany, the survey reported, with German sponsors and borrowers increasingly embracing private credit.Businesses supported by investors were getting more diverse, the Alternative Credit Council found. While 41% of European respondents’ capital was allocated to SMEs or mid-market borrowers, managers were also increasingly lending to a wider variety of borrowers outside the mid-market, from smaller businesses and start-ups, to larger corporations, real estate and infrastructure projects.European managers reported average allocations of 19% to real estate, 9% to large corporates and 8% to trade finance. However, distressed debt – relatively popular with North American investors – made up only 3% of European allocations.The survey report said: “The continued difficulties faced by European banks in offloading their non-performing loan (NPL) books, along with fragmented creditor protection frameworks across Europe, means that the market for European distressed debt remains less attractive. This may change in coming years, as policymakers continue to encourage a more active NPL market in Europe.”Growing competition for private credit investments had created a buyers’ market for borrowers, with the report noting that companies were seeking more flexibility on loan covenants and driving a hard bargain on pricing. However, managers said there were still risk baselines they would not cross.Looking ahead, private credit managers expected continued growth across the asset class, with a third of respondents planning on increasing allocations to SME and mid-market lending over the next three years.However, they were also preparing for the possibility of an end to the current credit cycle and tougher economic conditions for borrowers. As such, said the report, managers were increasingly lending at positions higher in the capital structure, and moving away from cyclical sectors.See also: IPE’s Credit Investing Special Report from the November issuelast_img read more

first_imgBy Todd Pitman THE ASSOCIATED PRESS DAKAR, Senegal – Renewed fighting Saturday inside a national park in Congo that is home to endangered mountain gorillas forced rangers to flee for the second time in less than a week, conservationists said. The clashes between fighters loyal to warlord Laurent Nkunda and government soldiers took place in Virunga National Park, where some of the world’s last remaining mountain gorillas live on the slopes of a volcanic mountain range that straddles Congo’s border with Rwanda and Uganda, the international conservation group WildlifeDirect said. Only about 700 mountain gorillas remain in the world, an estimated 380 of them in the Virunga range. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Tens of thousands of people have been displaced by the fighting across North Kivu province, where the park is located, and tens of thousands more have fled into neighboring Uganda. About 300 people – rangers and their families – fled the park itself Monday after skirmishes first broke out there. Wildlife groups said huge swaths of the park, including several of the rangers’ patrol posts, had been occupied by Nkunda’s insurgents and looted. Concerned about the fate of the gorillas, a few rangers returned Friday. In the brief time there they found only one five-member group outside of the park and “vulnerable to crossfire,” WildlifeDirect said. The rangers reported hearing shelling and gunfire on Friday and Saturday, and fled before they were able to check on gorillas. Though they typically stay high on the mountain slopes, the gorillas can roam freely and the park is not fenced off. “We thought the situation was calming a couple of days ago, but once again the mountain gorillas are in peril and the rangers cannot do their job,” the director of WildlifeDirect, Dr. Emmanuel de Merode, said. Conservation is “consistently challenging, and we can only hope the mountain gorillas survive this most recent saga.” last_img read more