KKR Credit’s Pillarstone Platform Expands to Greece

U.S. investment firm KKR Credit today announced the further expansion of its Pillarstone platform in Europe through the signing of a binding agreement with Alpha Bank and Eurobank in Greece.

KKR Credit said that the agreement builds on the successful progress of the Italian platform that was announced in June 2015. This could be a good sign for lenders in Greece struggling with bad shipping loans.

Specifically, Pillarstone Italy relieved one lender in Italy of some distressed shipping loans- the debt owed by Italy’s Premuda.

Under the deal, Banca Carige, UniCredit and Intesa Sanpaolo agreed to transfer around EUR 250 million (USD 281 million) in loans to Pillarstone, making it the main creditor of Premuda.

Pillarstone Italy concluded the agreement with Premuda in April this year.

“The agreement will strengthen the company through the injection of significant fresh capital and by supporting its management team as it implements a new industrial plan. As part of this transaction, a third bank – Banca Carige – is joining the platform alongside the two original partners in Pillarstone’s Italian platform, Intesa Sanpaolo and Unicredit,” the investment firm said.

Furthermore, the firm claims that the new platform in Greece will provide fresh long-term capital and operational expertise to large Greek corporate borrowers, helping them stabilise, recover and grow for the benefit of all stakeholders.

As with the Italian platform, the Greek banks are also planned to share in the upside as the businesses’ performance recovers. Subject to final Board approval, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is considering co-investing in partnership with KKR and the banks.

“Pillarstone presents an innovative and timely solution to banks across Europe in managing specific underperforming exposures. The agreement in Greece is an important next step in the development of a pan-European initiative and, together with the successful development of the Italian platform, demonstrates the benefits of the model for both companies, banks, and the wider economy,” Johannes P. Huth, Head of KKR Europe, Africa and Middle East, said.

Pillarstone is also evaluating opportunities to expand the platform in other European countries in the near-term.

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