Commerzbank builds leveraged finance team

Commerzbank Securities has appointed Thorsten Gladiator as transaction team leader for its Frankfurt-based Capital Structuring Group (CSG) while Susana Gomes has joined the London team as an associate.

Commerzbank Securities (ComSec) has made a brace of appointments at its European leveraged finance team ahead of what the bank expects to be a significant pick-up in the German leveraged finance market.

ComSec has appointed Thorsten Gladiator as transaction team leader for its Frankfurt-based capital structuring group (CSG) and Susana Gomes joins the unit in London as an associate. 

Gladiator was previously with UBS in Frankfurt for three years where he was a director in the leveraged finance and sponsor coverage group. Prior to this, Gladiator was at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein. Gomes was previously with CSFB in the leveraged finance group for over three years where she worked on several large European LBO transactions in various industries. 

In addition, ComSec has appointed three analysts. Christian Heller, Miriam Seidler and Silke Büch have recently joined the bank and will work within Commerzbank Securities' capital structuring team based in Frankfurt.

“I am delighted that we have secured the services of Gladiator, Gomes and the new analysts, as this will provide us with the required additional capacity to take our European franchise forward and in particular to take advantage of the strong growth in the German leveraged finance market,” said Chris Day, head of transaction management at CSG.

Both the transaction team headed by Day and the financial sponsors group headed by Matthew Roeser report to the capital structuring group headed by Mike Williamson. The transaction team is responsible for some deal origination but mainly deal execution. Roeser's financial sponsors group is responsible for deal origination.

The German market was buoyed towards the end of 2003 with a number of high-profile, billion-Euro plus transactions. In December alone, The Blackstone Group announced a E3.1bn offer for Celanese, the listed industrial chemicals company, while Blackstone and Apax Partners acquired Sulo, the family-owned German waste management company, in a deal worth about €500 million. Bain Capital also got in on the act, completing its third investment in Germany, acquiring chemicals distributor Brenntag for €1.3 billion from Deutsche Bahn.

As a result of these transactions, Germany is expected to achieve record levels of private equity activity in 2003. In December, the Financial Times reported that the level of buyout activity was expected to hit €17 billion.