(Bloomberg) -- One of Canada’s largest private lenders is looking to raise money to refinance old debt and increase liquidity, according to people familiar with the matter.
Bridging Finance Inc. is working with an adviser to raise C$100 million ($75 million) in debt to refinance a C$70 million existing facility with BlackRock Inc. and for additional liquidity at the corporate level, the people said.
David Sharpe, Bridging’s chief executive officer, confirmed the firm is looking to raise debt. It’s also evaluating a debt facility of as much as C$150 million at the fund level to optimize liquidity and performance, he said.
The Toronto-based company, which has C$1.8 billion in assets under management, offloaded about C$200 million in loans from its portfolios to institutional investors and other private debt firms, Sharpe said. The loan sales helped improve liquidity; Bridging froze redemptions on its funds in April when the market panic caused clients to withdraw money.
The company lends to small- and mid-sized companies involved in everything from milling flour to delivering groceries. Most of its funds are invested in collateral-based bridging loans, inventory and accounts receivable financing.
The pandemic, which forced the shutdown of many smaller businesses, is a major test for private lenders. The market for private credit has swelled to about $850 billion globally from $200 billion before the 2008 financial crisis. It’s likely to see consolidation in the years ahead as some lenders struggle with problem loans or lack of scale, while other firms raised funds that might be too big for the current environment.
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