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Principal credit the latest engine for Macquarie

As spreads widen for credit, Macquarie is rushing in.

Macquarie chief executive Shemara Wikramanayake

The great sport at Macquarie results briefings is to look beneath the headline numbers and work out which new business has appeared out of thin air since last time.

At the half-year briefing on Friday, at which Macquarie reported a net profit of A$2.305 billion – up 13% year-on-year, down 13% half-on-half – the standout was the principal finance arm’s credit portfolio.

Macquarie now has a principal finance portfolio of A$18 billion, with more than A$15 billion of it in credit, and more than A$3.6 billion was deployed in the first half through what the bank calls “focused investment in credit markets and bespoke financing solutions”.

This isn’t exactly new, but it’s clearly an area of momentum. Macquarie says that it conducted “more than 30” credit transactions in the first half. Examples included supporting Apax Partners’ acquisition of Pickles Auctions and growing a Polish logistics portfolio called DL Invest.

Niche opportunities

The six months in question, to September 30, were by any definition a lively time in the credit markets, but this is what Macquarie tends to do: find a niche opportunity where returns have become outsize, assess the risk and if it likes the numbers, pour capital into it.