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SMEs: Entrepreneurs tackle mezzanine drought head-on

It is not only bankers and asset managers figuring out new ways to finance the Mittelstand; so are the companies themselves. In February a group of entrepreneurs launched a new subordinated debt fund manager to address the problems firms have in sourcing debt at this level. The new firm, called Rantum Capital, was founded by Joachim Hunold, founder of Air Berlin, together with Michael Rogowski, former president of the BDI (Federation of German Industries); Wolfgang Hartmann, CEO of the Frankfurt Institute for Risk Management and Regulation; Heinz-Peter Schluter, founder of Trimet; media entrepreneur Karlheinz Kogel; Hans-Joachim Korber, former CEO of Metro; and Lothar Steinebach, former CFO of Henkel.

Rantum Capital is run from an elegant townhouse just off Frankfurt’s Taunusanlage, where Euromoney meets a member of the management board. He explains that the strength of the initiative is that it comes from the companies. "Entrepreneurs told us they were running into funding issues. Private equity hasn’t been able to get in and families don’t want to sell. They don’t want to get levered up. They still want to be local champions." The firm estimates that around 400 companies will need to refinance €2.3 billion in 2013 and 2014, this is the opportunity it seeks to exploit.

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