Clearwater International’s debt advisory team raises in excess of €1.5bn in debt finance in 2017


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The Debt Advisory team at mid-market advisory firm Clearwater International raised in excess of €1.5bn in debt finance for businesses, supporting acquisitions, refinancing and growth development. The team completed a total of 27 debt advisory transactions across Europe throughout 2017, demonstrating the growing importance of debt advisory in the current market.

Recent transactions show the broad range of debt structures now available in the mid-market. A keynote deal involved advising construction services provider and independent trader of aggregates GRS Group, on raising finance to support its acquisition of S.Walsh Holdings and fund future growth. The funding comprised of a three bank term loan and receivables finance syndicate of over c.€70m (£60m), provided by Lloyds Bank, RBS and HSBC.

Other notable transactions include advising Arlington Industries, on the c.€50m (£45m) debt raise for the acquisition of automotive mechanical engineering firm Magal Engineering Group and a refinance of current debt. The ABL (Asset Based Lending) funding was provided by Wells Fargo and Shawbrook Bank. At the beginning of 2017, the team advised LDC-backed UK holiday park operator Away Resorts on raising a significant debt facility to support its acquisition of Sandy Balls Holiday Village, forming a group with 6 sites valued in excess of c.€100m (£90m).

The mid-market has seen increasing demand for innovative debt solutions to meet strategic aims and transaction requirements. With more diverse lending options now available, Clearwater International is advising on more debt transactions than ever with its dedicated team. 2017 saw further investment in Clearwater’s Debt Advisory team, with the recruitment of nine additional members in senior and junior roles across the UK, France and Germany. The growth of the 20 strong team demonstrates the company’s intention to build upon expertise and specialisms, and strengthen its geographic reach.

The positive lending environment in the mid-market means it’s a great time for businesses to take advantage of the competitive terms and new structures available. New lenders are entering the market and existing lenders fight to remain competitive, with more flexible structures designed to support strategic growth and acquisition objectives. This includes a number of banks looking to collaborate with direct lenders and debt funds, in order to broaden their service offerings.

Mark Taylor, Partner and Head of Debt Advisory commented: “Given transaction activity levels and the positive lending environment, we’re expecting a strong pipeline in the business throughout 2018 and high deal completion levels. 2017 represented a strong year for the Debt Advisory team and we look forward to continuing to deliver great outcomes for our clients and further developing the team.”