New mezz fund targets CEE

A new mezzanine firm called Syntaxis Capital has been formed by ex-Mezzanine Management

men Ben Edwards, Przemek Szczepanski and Thomas Spring with the backing of Indigo Capital. The vehicle will arrange mezzanine debt for medium-sized Central European businesses through offices in Vienna and Warsaw. It will compete in a relatively limited field, with Mezzanine Management’s Accession Mezzanine Capital (AMC) and US group Derby Overseas.

Syntaxis has formed a strategic alliance with Indigo Capital, a UK-based provider of mezzanine capital, which will provide the initial funding. As part of the alliance, Indigo will take a minority stake in Syntaxis, and Syntaxis and Indigo will work together on developing investment opportunities and implementing investments.

Although the group has not launched a third-party fund to investors, Edwards was keen to stress that it was open for business and actively seeking deals.

“We are hunting in packs with Indigo at the moment, talking to sponsors and banks in the region,” he said. “We have seen tremendous growth in the fundraising market over the last couple of years and this will translate into more deal opportunities.

“We see the market as similar to Western Europe in the early-to-mid 1990s. Although there are occasional large deals that are financed by the investment banks, there is a great opportunity for junior capital in the mid market.”

Martin Stringfellow of Indigo Capital said: “We are delighted to have been able to form an alliance with Syntaxis, which we believe has the experience, expertise and relationships to form the basis of a new investment management firm dedicated to mezzanine capital in Central Europe. We look forward to working closely with Syntaxis by bringing our own experience in European mezzanine capital to the newer market of Central Europe.”

Edwards has been active in the European leveraged finance market for more than 17 years. He was one of the original team members at Mezzanine Management, joining that firm in 1988 shortly after its formation. More recently, he was one of the founding members of the team at Mezzanine Management responsible for its Central European fund, Accession Mezzanine Capital (AMC).

Przemek Szczepanski and Thomas Spring were also both previously involved in the management of AMC.