Bluebay duo plan €300m fund

Bluebay duo plan €300m fund

By Jack Horgan Jones, Sunday Business Post
Sunday, 20th August 2017
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Dunport Capital Management will aim to lend to Irish SMEs and mid-sized corporates

The two top executives at state-backed BlueBay Asset Management have spun out a new lending business and plan to raise a fund of up to €300 million to launch early next year.

Former Anglo Irish Bank executive Pat Walsh and Ross Morrow, who headed up the massive €450 million BlueBay fund, will continue to provide services to the company while working on their own venture, Dunport Capital Management.

Dunport will seek to originate loans to Irish SMEs and mid-sized corporates, Walsh said. Meanwhile, both Walsh and Morrow will continue to provide services to BlueBay. BlueBay was launched in 2013 with major backing from the state’s strategic investment fund, ISIF, the reconstituted National Pension Reserve Fund.

It backed several high-profile deals, including the refinancing of TV3’s debt and a loan to Rye River brewery, which was latterly written down after issues at the brewer.

In a statement, a spokesman for BlueBay confirmed that the pair were setting up their own outfit, but would continue working with the company in an advisory capacity.

“In April, investors in BlueBay’s Irish private credit business were advised that Pat Walsh and Ross Morrow, the senior principals of the Irish business, were launching a new firm focused on Irish private credit. Bluebay indicated its support for the venture and has engaged Pat and Ross to provide investment advisory and administrative services to BlueBay to ensure continuity to BlueBay’s existing Irish private credit investors and borrowers as portfolio investments are realised,” the firm said.

BlueBay has not sold any of its Irish business and it will continue to operate as before, it is understood. The new fund and any successor fund will be fully independent of the lender.

In 2016, BlueBay told its backers that it needed more time to invest the money that it raised, after it failed to fully expend its war chest.

Walsh joined BlueBay alongside Morrow, who previously worked with investment bank Lazard, in 2013. Three analysts have joined the pair at Dunport: Aidan Lynch, David Gilbane and Ross Pender.