KKR Boosts Private Credit Team as Its Asset-Based Lending Grows

KKR & Co. expanded its global private credit team with two hires to further its reach within asset-based financing and secured lending.

The firm tapped Giacomo Picco and Stephanie Yeh as managing directors. Picco will lead a new effort focused on so-called receivables and inventory-backed debt, while Yeh will co-lead sourcing of ABF investment opportunities in the U.S., according to a statement viewed by Bloomberg. Both will be based in New York.

The expansion comes just three months after KKR hired Jim Lees and Vaibhav Piplapure to focus on sourcing opportunities in specialty lending and asset-based finance.

KKR has previously said that it’s seeking to expand in asset-based private lending to capitalize on some banks’ decision to step back from the sector. There is more room for growth in the business as well, according to Dan Pietrzak, partner at KKR.

“It’s a space where not a tremendous amount of institutional capital has been raised,” he said in a phone interview. “It’s a space that has higher barriers to entry, but it’s taken many years to build the team that we have today, so we feel pretty good about that white space that exists.”

The firm has done seven ABF deals so far in 2021 for about $1.5 billion in commitments, and the investments have an average duration of about four years, he said. Pietrzak sees opportunities within aviation, residential real estate and consumer.

Picco joins KKR from Sound Point Capital Management, where he served as portfolio manager and head of alternative lending and capital solutions. Yeh was most recently head of early stage financing at Credit Suisse Group AG. Prior to that, she worked at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in structured finance and asset-backed securities finance.

Since 2016, KKR has deployed more than $4 billion in asset-based finance investments globally. The firm’s credit business managed about $165 billion, including about $58 billion in its private-credit platform as of March 31.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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