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MetLife Private Debt Deals Hit Record $7.7 Billion This Year

Kelsey Butler

(Bloomberg) -- MetLife Inc.’s asset manager originated $7.7 billion in private placement debt in the first half of 2019, a record for a first-half and a 10% increase over the same period last year.

Its investments included $5.1 billion in corporate private debt and $2.6 billion in infrastructure private debt, the company said in a statement Wednesday.

In addition, MetLife Investment Management also placed $2.4 billion on behalf of third-party institutional investors -- a record for a first-half. It placed a total of $4.7 billion in 2018. MetLife Investment Management attributed the record origination to investor demand for less volatile debt and better returns in an environment of interest rate uncertainty and low yields.

The company invested $900 million in Australia, almost $800 million in the U.K. and $800 million in the broader Europe, Middle East and Africa region, reflecting global appetite for private capital.

“The growth in private placements is really two-fold, starting with investor demand,” John Wills, the company’s global head of private debt origination, said in a phone interview. “Our third-party clients are interested in private debt from the standpoint of diversification and a protected portfolio. And there is also growth on the issuer side due to the flexibility that the private market provides.”

MetLife Investment Management’s private debt portfolio totaled $78.7 billion as of June 30, the company said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kelsey Butler in New York at kbutler55@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Natalie Harrison at nharrison73@bloomberg.net, Adam Cataldo

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