Monroe Capital wants back in

After spending the past year or so cherry-picking deals in the secondary loan market, Monroe Capital is looking to raise upwards of $500 million to finance new leveraged buyouts, says Ted Koenig, president and CEO of the Chicago-based lender.

The firm is speaking with several institutional investors—insurance companies, banks and pension investors—to raise a pool that would be ready to deploy by March 31.

“This is an opportune time to be in the primary loan business because a lot of the banks are still out of the game,” Koenig says. “We’re looking to shore up our own balance sheet so we can get back into the market in a more aggressive manner.”

Monroe Capital would use its new funding to provide senior loans sized anywhere between $20 million and $75 million, and junior capital slugs of up to $25 million.

Similar to many lenders in the current economic climate, Monroe Capital has focused on purchasing inexpensive assets on the loan secondary market for the past year or so. However, recent price increases are tightening the returns available in that market, Koenig says.

In other Monroe Capital news, the firm’s advisory affiliate, Monroe Credit Advisors, recently opened a new office in Boston. The advisory practice was launched in Chicago in July to provide consulting services on a variety of matters, from balance sheet issues brought on by the economic downturn to advice on new financings and who the right lender might be for a particular situation.

Since its launch, the advisory shop has doubled in size to include six full-time professionals. —Ari Nathanson