01 March, Bebeez
Apollo Global Management bets 300 million euro to invest in credits towards Italian companies struggling financially or defaulting. And this is meant to be only the first move of the American giant of distressed alternative assets. In fact, if the activity of the dedicated investment platform, named Apollo Delos, is successful, there will be more investments in Italy. Certainly, Apollo has no problems in investing large amounts, considered that its funds globally manage about 150 billion dollars, a large portion of which in European corporate credits.
An Italian team will select the investment opportunities and will follow up the investments. The team will work independently from Apollo, but it will be bound to it through an exclusive advisory contract, working for the newly-incorporated advisory company Apeiron Management spa, whose capital is owned by the partner. Apeiron is guided by Alessandro Fracanzani, who worked previously at Credit Suisse and was the advisor for Apollo regarding the Italian deals. One of these deals regarded the Hotel Danieli in Venice, closed in January with an agreement with Danieli Property, the company of Giuseppe Statuto, that paid to Apollo the 94 million instalment of the debt that the fund purchased from Mps last summer.
The investments will be for debt only or for a mix of debt and equity (very unlikely for equity only) of Italian companies, with amounts comprised between 5 and 50 million euro, with the possibility to carry out transactions for larger amounts if the opportunity arises. The investments will be aimed mostly at stressed and distressed opportunists, bankruptcy proceedings and bad loans.
Robert Ruberton, head of illiquid opportunistic credit for Apollo Global Management, commented: “We’re happy to work with Apeiron for the implementation of the Italian platform specialised in corporate credit. We believe that the current economic context and the recent legislative reforms have created interesting opportunities for Apollo in Italy”.
In January it was announced the investment by Apollo Global Management in the new fund Special Opportunities I managed by Dea Capital Real Estate sgr and dedicated to investments for 200 million (on a total target of 250 million). The fund will invest in NPL portfolios mainly secured, for amounts comprised between 50 and 100 million euro gross. Apollo itself together with Dea Capital subscribed 200 million. The new fund will manage the NPL activities in Italy of Apollo European Principal Finance Fund III for portfolios up to 100 million euro gross.
Previously, Apollo had tried several operations in Italy without success. For instance, it took part to the auction for the secured NPL portfolio of Intesa Sanpaolo, named Beyond the Clouds, for 2.1 billion euro, that went to Christofferson Robb & Company (Crc), Bayview and Prelios Credit Servicing in May 2017.
In 2016 the company participated in a bid for the group Sigla, a company operating in salary-deducted loans and in management of NPL portfolios, then sold last December to the fund Alchemy. In the same sector, Apollo in 2015 had an exclusive negotiation with Carige for the acquisition of the consumer credit company Creditis Servizi Finanziari spa with no decision being made. The company was then sold to Chenavari Investment Managers last December.
Always in 2015, Carige rejected Apollo proposal for the purchase of its NPLs along with the underwriting of a capital increase to amortize the losses consequent to the transfer. In October 2014, Apollo bought the Carige insurance companies Carige Assicurazioni and Carige Vita Nuova, named Amissima afterwards.
Apollo together with Lone Star presented in 2016 an offer for the four good banks (Nuova Banca Etruria, Nuova Banca Marche, CariChieti and CariFerrara) and participated at the auction for GE Capital Interbanca, then won by Banca Ifis in July 2016.
Finally, always in 2016, Apollo arrived at the final stage of the auction for the Italian assets of the insurance group Uniqa, but it was beaten by Reale Mutua.
Translator: Cristina Ambrosi