3 questions to smart minds

Rising demand for mezzanine finance

For this 3 questions to Karsten Batran

Bright Capi­tal
Photo: Kars­ten Batran
29. June 2016

Demand for finan­cing with mezza­nine capi­tal is incre­asing. Mezza­nine capi­tal is charac­te­ri­zed by certain features, some of which can be assi­gned to equity and others to debt. In the event of insol­vency, for exam­ple, subor­di­na­tion to other credi­tors, prio­rity over liable equity capi­tal, flexi­bi­lity in setting prices and condi­ti­ons, waiver of colla­te­ral, (mostly) no dilu­tion of share­hol­der shares and, conse­quently, no change in voting rights in the company. 

For this 3 ques­ti­ons to Mana­ging Part­ner of Bright Capi­tal in Munich

1. Her company BRIGHT CAPITAL is just closing its first mezza­nine fund at 100 million euros. How is mezza­nine capi­tal being recei­ved by German entrepreneurs?

In recent years, we have obser­ved an incre­asing demand for finan­cing for small and medium-sized compa­nies as an alter­na­tive or supple­ment to banks. In Germany, we gene­rally see the need for mezza­nine as an alter­na­tive to equity invest­ments, i.e. prima­rily in growth situa­tions, for exam­ple to expand working capi­tal or for invest­ments in fixed assets or add-on acqui­si­ti­ons. The advan­tage of subor­di­na­ted loans here is on the one hand the trans­pa­rent and plan­nable remu­ne­ra­tion and term, but also in parti­cu­lar the inde­pen­dence of the company. This is curr­ently also reflec­ted in the high demand and in our deal pipeline. 

BRIGHT CAPITAL is an inde­pen­dent direct lending fund with offices in Frank­furt and Munich. In addi­tion to mezza­nine in the form of subor­di­na­ted loans, we can also invest in unitran­che. With our fund, we invest in small to medium-sized compa­nies in German-spea­king count­ries with sales of gene­rally up to EUR 100 million. We invest up to 10 million euros per tran­sac­tion. With co-inves­tors, even beyond.

2. In which situa­tions does mezza­nine finan­cing make the most sense for companies?

Mezza­nine finan­cing can be useful in many situa­tions, for exam­ple in growth situa­tions and expan­sion phases, for company succes­si­ons and share­hol­der chan­ges, for acqui­si­tion finan­cing and for opti­mi­zing the finan­cing struc­ture. Howe­ver, mezza­nine prima­rily makes sense in growth situa­tions. Often as a comple­ment to exis­ting banks. 

BRIGHT CAPITAL pursues an entre­pre­neu­rial invest­ment approach. Finan­cing is struc­tu­red indi­vi­du­ally and in coope­ra­tion with manage­ment to suit the company’s situa­tion. In this context, we parti­cu­larly often see compa­nies in growth situa­tions. Typi­cal finan­cing occa­si­ons for compa­nies in growth phases are the deve­lo­p­ment of new markets, the intro­duc­tion of new products or the acqui­si­tion of new custo­mers. This usually requi­res funding beyond exis­ting equity and exis­ting working capi­tal lines. Mezza­nine with econo­mic equity charac­ter provi­des the neces­sary funds for successful expan­sion and at the same time leads to a streng­thening of the balance sheet. With mezza­nine in the form of subor­di­na­ted loans, the share­hol­ders bene­fit fully from the posi­tive perfor­mance of their company.

3. What is the state of the market for mezza­nine capi­tal in Germany and Europe?

On tran­sac­tions, we see a handful of funds in Germany with a compa­ra­ble invest­ment focus in terms of company size and stra­tegy. The market for direct lending and private debt in German-spea­king count­ries is only just begin­ning to deve­lop. Howe­ver, demand on the corpo­rate side has risen steadily in recent years. Curr­ently, the market is still domi­na­ted by inves­tors from the Anglo-Saxon region. Howe­ver, these usually target compa­nies with much higher finan­cing needs and often operate with teams from London in Germany. 

Our strengths lie in the indi­vi­dual struc­tu­ring of finan­cing solu­ti­ons, the trans­pa­rency and predic­ta­bi­lity of our offer, as well as our speed of execu­tion and the entre­pre­neu­rial inde­pen­dence of the company. Our invest­ment team looks back on many years of expe­ri­ence as entre­pre­neurs, advi­sors and inves­tors. We all have a very mid-market back­ground and bring not only struc­tu­ring exper­tise but also an exten­sive network in the lower mid market. In tran­sac­tions, we are also supported by expe­ri­en­ced indus­try experts.

About Kars­ten Batran

Kars­ten Batran is Mana­ging Part­ner at BRIGHT CAPITAL. Mr. Batran has worked in invest­ment banking and corpo­rate finance for many years. Before foun­ding BRIGHT CAPITAL, he worked for Beren­berg Bank in Frank­furt, among others. Previous stati­ons include Sal. Oppen­heim and Horváth & Part­ners Private Equity & Inves­tors as well as Siemens and Porsche. In the course of his acti­vi­ties, Mr. Batran has assis­ted a large number of compa­nies in their further growth and financing. 

About Bright Capital

In close coope­ra­tion with a broad network of banks, inves­tors and indus­try experts, BRIGHT CAPITAL invests in successful small and medium-sized compa­nies. We provide private debt in the form of subor­di­na­ted loans, thus offe­ring compa­nies and entre­pre­neurs an inde­pen­dent finan­cing alternative. 

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