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BNPP creates global financial sponsor team

BNP Paribas is creating a global financial sponsor coverage team within its corporate and investment bank. The team will be led by Kathryn Swintek and Marc Vermeulen, who will both be based in London.

The move has just been announced internally and the allocation of personnel to the team from the existing structured finance and corporate finance teams will take place over the next few weeks. The size of the team is still to be finalised.

The decision is in keeping with CEO Jacques d’Estais’s desire to boost the firm’s leveraged finance and high-yield business this year, as well as its private equity-backed M&A activity.

These are long-held objectives – reiterated when the bank announced its 2006 results last week (see separate story in this section) – but in European leveraged loans the bank still ranked ninth in 2006, according to Thomson Financial, with the same position in European high-yield bonds.

The firm did not rank in the 2006 sponsored loan bookrunner table, which ranks only financial sponsor-backed activity, but it has made a positive start to this year. It is currently top of the sponsor loan table, with five deals worth almost US$1.5bn.

BNPP currently deals with its private equity clients through a combination of the structured finance and corporate finance teams, but has not had a specific group dedicated to the sector. That has created an obstacle to selling the bank’s product suite effectively to private equity firms.

Swintek, who will relocate for her new role, founded BNPP’s New York structured finance team in 1990 and the global high-yield group in 2000. She headed that division for three years before being appointed to her current role as head of leveraged finance North America as well as being the US representative of the global structured finance division.

Vermeulen is a senior corporate finance banker based in London, and has most recently been in charge of private equity within the corporate finance business. Swintek and Vermeulen will report to Thierry Varene, head of corporate finance, and Eric Raynaud, head of structured finance.