Welcome to Debtwire's second annual European Opportunities Forum!

Fixed income investors have no doubt become dismayed by zero and negative rate policies set by central banks around the globe. The European Central Bank (ECB) has followed suit with its own negative rate policy sending sovereign and corporate yields to historic lows. Combine Italian bank contagion risk with alarming public debt levels, slowing high yield issuance, and new regulatory initiatives such as the Capital Requirements Directive IV under Basel III has had the effect of limiting investors' options.

Yet, opportunities remain. The European CLO market remains vibrant and strong, in contrast to the U.S. market. In 2016 CLO sales totaled EUR 16.81bn from 40 transactions, which was a EUR 3bn increase from 2015. Industry observers are expecting 2017 to exceed 2016 in terms of issuance because of improving spreads, pricing and other factors. "Green bonds" and private debt deals are also on the march across the continent. Asset managers, armed with loads of dry powder, are looking to step into the void left by commercial lenders. Investors are all too willing to invest in private debt funds, which by one measure, have achieved 20% IRRs.

Please join the Debtwire team and esteemed panelists in discussing the brightest opportunities and economic challenges throughout the Eurozone area.


Welcome address

    Philip Hertz, Global Head, Restructuring & Insolvency, Clifford Chance LLP

Opening remarks

    John Bringardner, Global Legal Editor, Debtwire

Fireside chat: Brexit – threats and opportunities

Brexit changed the political landscape in the UK and Europe, and is arguably part of a shift away from the status quo that has held for decades across the west. The election of Donald Trump as the next President of the United States provides further evidence of that. Is this shift a political and economic risk, opportunity or both? What does it mean for US investors in the UK and Europe? We will examine how the UK's ultimate relationship with the rest of Europe, the rest of the world, and crucially the United States is likely to develop over the next five to ten years.

What are the opportunities for investing, and what are some of the technical and legal challenges?

  • What does Brexit mean for US investors in the UK and Europe?
  • Will investors face a more complex cross-border legal framework in Europe in areas such as restructuring?
  • Will there be a smooth transition from the status quo to the UK's new relationship?
  • What will it mean for the UK's relationship with the USA, and other countries?

  • Speakers
    David Henderson, Partner & Executive Director of Business With Europe, Finsbury
    Nick O'Neill, Partner, Clifford Chance

Panel: Debt investing in European infrastructure and energy assets – what do US investors need to know?

Investors will starve for yield, yet rate and demand conditions in Europe are ripe for borrowers and issuers. Intense competition from banks, debt funds, pension and insurance companies and other institutional debt investors in both "Greenfield" project financing and the financing of established "brownfield" infrastructure assets continues to drive not only lower pricing but also longer tenors, higher leverage and weaker terms (including portability). Junior and holdco debt is an increasingly prominent feature of the market and firms in the infrastructure/energy industry are looking to tap loan and capital markets and establish flexible, multi-source debt platforms to maximize refinancing opportunities now and in the future. The universe of brownfield assets financed on an "infrastructure" basis also continues to expand as investors search for opportunities in a crowded market, beyond traditional "core" infrastructure to "core-plus" infrastructure assets which may prove less resilient in a downturn. Meanwhile, investors still struggle with a patchwork of insolvency laws and restructuring tools throughout the continent.

Listen to panelists discuss project financing and brownfield infrastructure financing in a European context.

  • Assessing market trends in project financing and brownfield infrastructure financing.
  • Exploring the impact of these market dynamics on opportunities for distressed investors.
  • Looking at the impact of the continent's patchwork of insolvency laws and restructuring tools.

  • Speakers
    Andrew Blincoe, Head of Structured Finance, RBS
    Ran Landmann, Managing Director, CVC Credit Partners
    Angel Martin, Global Head of Financial Restructuring, KPMG
    Peter O'Neill, Managing Director, Rubicon Infrastructure Advisors
    Jorge Rodriguez, Global Head of Infrastructure Debt, Deutsche Asset Management
    Daniel Zerbib, Managing Director, Clifford Chance(moderator)

Networking break

Panel: Structured products, junk bonds, and other signs of yield

Industry observers have remarked recently that European high yield spreads appear attractive as bankers are pricing in higher default rates for 2017 than what may actually transpire. While last summer French cable operator Numericable junk bond issuance brought activity back to market, concerns over rising populism and the ECB’s QE program continue to dominate investor sentiment.

The CLO primary and secondary markets still have plenty of momentum after a fairly robust 2016. Investors have become more bullish because of tightening spreads, better pricing, scheduled refinancings and resets, and a more diversified issuer and investor base. Also notable is private debt funds and "Green" bond investing, both a growing trend, in which the latter's issuance has grown from USD 46bn last year to projections of USD 56bn this year.

Delegates will hear from panelists discuss strategies and trends in search for yield around ABS, high yield bonds, private debt funds, and other instruments.

  • Assessing opportunities in the CLO primary and secondary markets and different tranches.
  • Analyzing the effect of Brexit on CLOs and CLO managers.
  • Comparing European and US CLOs in terms of:

  • ○Warehousing
    ○Asset composition
    ○Management strategy

  • Discussing how European CLOs manage investments in sterling and other non-Euro currencies.
  • Exploring recent European high yield bond issuance and resulting trends and opportunities.
  • Analyzing illiquidity premia among different debt instruments and sourcing liquidity.
  • Discussing private debt characteristics as a "cross over asset," including equity like returns and negative correlation to other assets, and terms investors are extracting from issuers.
  • What are Euro zone growth prospects over the next 12 months with a particular focus on Germany, France, Italy, and Spain.

  • Speakers
    Michael Dakin, Global Head Of High Yield, Clifford Chance
    Alistair Dick, Partner, PwC
    Stephen Escudier, Director, EQT Credit
    Andrew Marshak, Managing Director, Credit Suisse Asset Management
    Robert Villani, Partner, Clifford Chance (moderator)

Networking cocktail reception

Agenda is preliminary and subject to change

Lead Strategic Partner


The Metropolitan Club

1 E 60th St
New York

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