GSC Partners Europe, a private investment firm specializing in debt, is developing a European collateralized debt obligation business and plans to launch its debut deal by the end of the first quarter. Peter Firth, director, says the first deal will be a E350 million collateralization of senior loans and the firm has already tapped Lehman Brothers as an underwriter. GSC Partners already has a E1.1 billion mezzanine debt fund and is getting into CDOs to expand its European business by capitalizing on its expertise in loan investing. GSC Partners Europe is the London-based subsidiary of Florham Park, N.J.-based GSC Partners, which manages roughly $6 billion.
Firth joined GSC Partners Europe two months ago from Groupama, a French assurance company, to spearhead the CDO business. He says GSC Europe will aim to roll out new CDOs every 12 to 18 months depending on market conditions. The firm will also create CDOs backed by other asset classes on an opportunistic basis, he says. The London CDO group currently has two members, but Firth plans to add one or two more.