Investors Pony Up More Than $2B for Distressed Fund

Värde Partners has raised a fund targeting global distressed opportunities.

George Hicks, co-founder and CEO of Varde Partners. (Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg)

George Hicks, co-founder and CEO of Varde Partners.

(Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg)

Värde Partners, a $14 billion alternative investments manager, has raised about $2.5 billion for its thirteenth flagship fund.

“We’ll continue to invest in areas of systemic distress — countries with a lot of distressed assets, such as in the southern periphery, particularly Spain, Italy, and also in India,” said George Hicks, co-founder and CEO, in an interview with Institutional Investor.

Since its founding in 1993, the privately held firm has built up its practice to invest in both liquid and private credit across the capital structure and in regions around the world. In addition to its flagship funds, Värde has raised dedicated money to invest in Asia, Europe, mortgages, private debt, real estate, and specialty finance.

“Against a backdrop of intense economic uncertainty, there are several significant pockets of distress around the world today, and we expect that opportunity to grow over the investment period of the fund,” said Ilfryn Carstairs, Värde’s Singapore-based global co-CIO, in a statement. “We have strategically built our right to play in markets where we can target the gaps left behind by traditional capital providers as they continue to retrench.”

Carstairs will become co-CEO with Hicks in January. Carstairs will retain his co-CIO role. Hicks will transition to executive chair of the asset manager by 2022.

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Värde also expects to potentially invest in pockets hit by a downturn and areas where regulatory changes have left a scarcity of capital.

“The other areas of opportunity are more cyclical. These tend to play out in energy, commodities, shipping, and geographically in places like Indonesia, India and in the energy patch,” said Hicks. The fund has invested five to 10 percent of its assets so far.

“Regulatory changes have also created opportunities, particularly in special situations in Indonesia and consumer finance,” Hicks added.