Springwater, the most active foreign fund investing in Spanish SMEs

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BY : Diego GutiérrezJanuary Mon, 2014
private equitySince mid-2013, the Geneva-based fund has opened an office in Spain and has been the most active foreign fund in Spain. investment in Spanish SMEs having invested more than €50M. The firm has announced that it has more than €100M available for 2014.

Springwater perceives a change in Spanish SMEs and banks

According to information provided by the firm's main executives, since the summer of 2013 in Spain there has been a change in the attitudes of banks compared to previous years and they have begun to negotiate conditions and be flexible in their demands. The owners themselves are also showing more willingness to reach agreements with financial partners to improve their competitive possibilities.

"The expectation is that the case of Springwater is not an isolated case and that 2014 will be a year in which we start to see the presence of foreign capital in SMEs and also the emergence of new alternative financing models such as private debt funds, inter-company financing, etc." analyses Diego Gutierrez from Abra Invest.

What kind of operations is Springwater looking for?

The Swiss fund is looking for three types of business situations in Spain in which invest. In the first place are companies that want to grow or to make acquisitions. Secondly, there are companies where restructuring is needed. This is the case in the interest shown in Service point which did not materialise in the end. Service Point also has synergies with the document management investee Delion comunications has recently filed for voluntary insolvency proceedings. Third, there are the non-strategic divisions of corporations. Springwater has already been involved in a number of such transactions. An example is the acquisition of Adveo, the industrial division of the Unipapel group for €16m. Also the purchase of the 80% from Sareneta subsidiary of the group Vocento, for €14.3M. 

The tourism sector in the spotlight

The tourism sector is one of the leading sectors in Spain and is showing the best signs of recovery. Springwater is no stranger to this, and has carried out several operations in the sector, precisely to finance growth. The group Pullmantur has given entry to Springwater and Gowaii vacations in the non-cruise business pending approval by competition authorities. It has also, in recent days, closed the entry into the tourism service provider Transhotel.

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