HIG launches debt arm in Europe

HIG Capital has launched a European operation of its fledgling credit arm, HIG WhiteHorse, in a further sign that private equity groups are looking to tap into the market for private debt.

Former Hutton Collins partner Haseeb Aziz has joined HIG Capital to spearhead the launch of its debt arm, HIG WhiteHorse, in Europe, the firm said.

Aziz was responsible for originating, structuring and monitoring investments at Hutton Collins. He also worked in leveraged finance at Merrill Lynch, management consultancy at Marakon, private debt placement at Deutsche Bank, and M&A work at Morgan Stanley.

At HIG, Aziz is tasked with leading the firm’s push into the European credit markets. The firm launched HIG WhiteHorse in the US late last year, following the acquisition of a portfolio of assets from Dallas-based CLO manager Whitehorse Capital.

Sami Mnaymneh, co-founder and managing partner of HIG Capital said in a statement: “Haseeb is one of the most experienced and knowledgeable investors in the European non-bank loan origination market, and we expect him to play a leading role in helping to significantly expand HIG’s activities in Europe.”

The new unit, which operates independently of its longstanding special situations-focused unit Bayside Capital, provides debt financing to mid-market companies in US and Europe in the form of senior and subordinated debt. Credit facilities typically range from $15 million to $100 million, it said.

The launch of HIG WhiteHorse in Europe comes as a number of managers are looking to diversify into the credit market. Established players like Blackstone affiliate GSO Capital Partners and Oaktree Capital Management have been joined by new entrants to the market, including Metric Capital Partners, 3i Debt Management and Partners Group.