Debtwire Private Credit Forum Europe

The must-attend event for Europe's Private Credit community!

The Dorchester, London


08.30 - 09.15

Registration & breakfast

09.15 - 09.20

Chair's opening remarks

Josh O’Neill
Josh O’Neill Head of Private Capital, Debtwire Europe, DEBTWIRE
09.20 - 09.35

Keynote: What are the key risks and opportunities for private debt as we head deeper into a difficult macroeconomic environment?

What does a more challenging macroeconomic environment mean for companies that need more capital faster? This session will examine how asset allocation strategies to private markets are changing, the outlook for different private asset classes, and the external forces driving investment into them. 

  • How is credit quality holding up against the background of interest rates and economic development?
  • What does the sped-up need for capital mean for direct lending, distressed and special situations investing?
  • How will the skill and experience of private debt managers be tested?
  • Low-yield environment, rising interest rates, low risk premiums, decelerating global growth - Will these risks outweigh the opportunities or create the opportunities?
09.35 - 10.20

Panel: The Private Credit outlook

Private credit deals have increased in popularity over the past 10 years, but as the economic outlook weakens, interest rates rise and the price of liquidity increases, there may be signs of a squeeze on European lenders. Speakers on this panel will discuss: 

  • What does the deal pipeline look like for dealmakers given lack of M&A activity?
  • What are sponsors' appetites for UK versus European financings?
  • How are leverage multiples affecting dealmakers?
  • Where are funds finding opportunities to invest?
  • What happens when lenders take the keys to companies from sponsors?
  • Private debt funds are increasingly focusing their efforts on ESG strategies - How are dealmakers tackling ESG strategies with portfolio companies and how are private lenders leveraging loan terms to drive an impact agenda?
10.20 - 11.05

Panel: New frontiers - Emerging strategies within private debt

This session will examine the role played by the private credit secondaries market, along with other emerging strategies, including NAV-based financing, from the perspective of both GPs and LPs:

  • Are these strategies compelling tools for helping provide liquidity solutions?
  • What does the future hold for NAV-based lending?
  • What is the opportunity set, and how does it compare to corporate direct lending in terms of risk and yield?
  • How to utilise the asset class as part of your portfolio
  • How are LPs navigating this space?
11.05 - 11.35

Networking coffee

11.35 - 12.20

Panel: Managing stressed and distressed lending positions

A challenging macroeconomic environment hampered by high interest rates continues to negatively affect sponsor-backed companies, ultimately leading to defaults on debt repayments. How will dealmakers manage their stressed and distressed debt positions in a continued downturn?

  • Which sectors are most at risk of stress and distress?
  • How have terms been eroded through EBITDA adjustments and other forms of financial engineering?
  • How can dealmakers support company restructurings?
  • What returns are direct lenders generating on debt-for-equity swaps?
  • How do direct lenders navigate the reputational risks that come with key-taking?

12.20 - 13.05

Panel: Regional focus - Southern Europe

Bursting with dry powder in Southern Europe, lenders have continuously provided private debt options in the region. Our panel of experts will discuss: 

  • What is the deal pipeline in Southern Europe for direct lenders?
  • What are the key issues for issuers and investors in the region?
  • What are the trends in documentation in the region?
  • What are the differences in the direct lending deal pipelines in Italy and Spain?
13.05 - 14.05


14.05 - 14.30

Fireside Chat: Going large-cap and club deals

As the syndicated debt market has pulled back into gear, how are European lenders approaching jumbo deals while seeking to maintain a competitive edge?

  • Unitranche deals versus syndicated debt - How are terms and pricing changing for both?
  • To what extent have banks made a comeback in Europe, and where will they go from here?
  • How is the relationship between large-cap lenders, banks and sponsors changing?
  • How the emergence of so-called hybrid debt deals will affect Europe’s direct lending market

14.30 - 14.55

Fireside chat: Small–cap market opportunities

The credit markets are signalling a better environment for small cap equities in 2024. Small companies are the lifeblood of our economy, yet are often neglected, not only by the banks, but also by the large direct lenders. The financing needs of small companies can be as complex as those of large companies, this panel will examine:

  • What are the key trends that will dominate the small-cap market over the next 12 months?
  • What are the headwinds and how are firms navigating uncertainty?
  • What superior risk adjusted returns are firms putting in place?
  • Are ESG considerations just as important in the small-cap space?

Charles-Henri Clappier
Charles-Henri Clappier Partner, Kartesia
Johan Groothaert
Johan Groothaert CEO, Fiduciam
14.55 - 15.20

Fireside chat: Mid-market direct lending explored

Looking specifically into the mid-market space, should private-debt providers take a more sector-specific or generalist approach?

  • What are the key trends that will dominate the mid-market over the next 12 months?
  • Where are cracks beginning to show in the sponsor-backed lending world?
  • Where are mid-market lenders finding the greatest opportunities?
  • Examining the continued rise of non-sponsor-backed lending
15.20 - 15.50

Networking coffee

15.50 - 16.35

Panel: How is the private equity world viewing private capital markets?

Private equity buyouts fell by 56% in 2023 compared to 2022 (according to Mergermarket data) as deal financing became more scarce and more expensive. Private credit stepped in to fill some of the gaps left by retrenching syndicated markets but the large and mid-cap still continues to suffer. How are sponsors navigating the ongoing financing drought and how can private funds support a more robust LBO market? 

  • How are sponsors changing their approach to leverage within their portfolio and what does this mean for private credit? 
  • How does private credit fair for sponsors as syndicated markets start to reopen?
  • Can private credit support sponsors in other realisation opportunities like dividend recaps? What other innovative solutions can private credit provide?
  • How is the changing deal financing environment impacting both the auction process and considerations around exits?
Rachel Lewis
Rachel Lewis Private Equity Senior Reporter, Mergermarket
16.35 - 17.15

Panel: LPs views - Fundraising, allocation, portfolio construction

Investors have been focusing allocations into private credit in light of interest rate rises. Fundraising, returns and more opportunities are all indicators of future growth – but where do the risks lie?

  • What risks do LPs see in a market that is consistently expanding?
  • Private Debt vs. Private Equity – Where is differentiation more difficult?
  • How are LPs weighing up their allocations between private debt and private equity?
  • How do LPs view ESG strategies given economic challenges?
  • What’s happening in fundraising in relation to the other sub categories of the asset class? (NAV, real estate debt, infrastructure debt, etc.)
  • What is the outlook for private debt co-investments in today’s market?
17.15 - 18.30

Chair's closing remarks and networking drinks

18.30 - 22.00

Debtwire Direct Lending Awards

We will be announcing the winners of the 2024 Direct Lending Awards at a gala dinner at The Dorchester in London on 23 May. 

The awards ceremony will take place after the Private Credit conference and registration for the gala dinner is separate to registration for the conference.