SG targets German LBO market

SG, the corporate and investment banking arm of Societe Generale, is developing its leveraged finance operations in Germany with the creation of a new team in Frankfurt. Claus Peter is joining to develop SG’s presence in Germany. He will be managing director of SG’s European leveraged finance group.

Peter, previously managing director of European leveraged finance for Merrill Lynch in Frankfurt, is the first appointment and leader of what will become a three person team. He will work closely with advisory and debt finance professionals in Germany as well as with equity capital market and financial sponsor coverage groups in London, where he will initially be spending much of his time.

He will report to Rene de Laigue, global head of leveraged and acquisition finance based in London, who says the initial aim is to rapidly establish a good solid source of deal intelligence and draw on the execution capabilities in London. Peter has developed relationships with Germany’s growing private equity community through his previous roles as head of the structured finance division of BHF Frankfurt and his time at Dresdner Bank.

De Laigue believes the time is right for this move as some German banks are experiencing difficulties and drawing back from the Mittelstand market. “We are very active at the moment, the market has taken off in an incredible way, it’s the busiest it has been since 2000,” he said.

SG leveraged finance already has a team of ten in London, 12 in Paris and five in Madrid. So far this year the bank has acted as mandated lead arranger for private equity deals that include Retif in France and Hitecsa in Spain as well as two secondary buyouts. It provided a GBP100 million-plus package to support CapVest’s GBP137 million acquisition of Young’s Bluecrest and EURO250 million of debt in the Moliflor Loisirs deal, which was valued at around EURO400 million. “The game plan is to roll out this business model into Germany where the bank has already invested in some high quality investment banking hires,” says De Laigue. SG’s focus is underwriting and arranging upper mid-market (EURO100 million to EURO1 billion) deals in France, Germany, the UK, Spain and Italy.