RBS continues to build in Germany

Stuart Hewer has left rival Bank of Scotland to join the Scottish bank's German leveraged finance unit.

Royal Bank of Scotland has further expanded its German leveraged operations, appointing Stuart Hewer as associate director of the Frankfurt-based leveraged finance team.


Hewer will be responsible for arranging and overseeing LBO transactions and will report to RBS leveraged director Gerd Bieding. He joins RBS from Bank of Scotland’s structured finance division, where he arranged the debt financing for five German LBO transactions during his three-year spell at the bank.


The appointment is the first to be announced after Jochen König joined the bank as head of its German leveraged finance business in June 2002. Koenig succeeded Michael Föcking, who left to join Nordic private equity group EQT.


Since its establishment in 1999, RBS Leveraged Finance has become one of the most active arrangers of leveraged transactions in Germany. Last year, the division supported almost half of all leveraged buyouts in the E100m-plus bracket, taking a lead role in most. This accounts for 80 per cent of the market value in the sector for large and medium sized buyouts.


The German leveraged team’s most recent participation was as sole lead arranger for Triton’s E240m acquisition of Pfizer’s aquarium and pond supply business. The E172.5 package incorporated senior debt facilities (E142.5m) and mezzanine facilities (E30m) for the transaction, which was announced in November.


Recent data from Thomson Financial shows that RBS was the top arranger of European loans for leveraged buyouts in 2002 – by number and value of loans arranged. The bank was also the biggest arranger of mezzanine financing last year, according to a survey by Dealogic.


However, the German buyout market remains slow when compared with its European neighbours. Data from the Centre for Management Buyout Research (CMBOR) showed that German LBO activity in 2001 fell by more than halve, from E15.1bn to E7bn.