September 29, 2017 / 10:06 AM / 10 months ago

Hedge fund Marathon eyes bad loans in Britain on Brexit slowdown

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - U.S. credit hedge fund Marathon Asset Management sees buying opportunities in British non-performing loans as Britain’s economy slows down following its vote to leave the European Union, the fund’s chief executive said on Thursday.

“We think the UK will really start to feel Brexit a year from now,” Bruce Richards, who is also chairman of the $14 billion (10.42 billion pounds) hedge fund, told a conference.

“The UK is destined — not for a deep recession — but for a multi-year adjustment and we think that starts to hit from the second half of (next) year.”

Credit hedge funds typically concentrate on buying assets which are in default, and holding onto them in the hopes of a restructuring or upturn.

Britain’s economy has lagged since its vote in June 2016 to leave the EU.

The economy grew 0.3 percent in the second quarter after 0.2 percent in the first, adding up to the slowest growth for any major advanced economy since the start of 2017.

A sharp fall in sterling has driven inflation higher, and business investment has been frozen by Brexit uncertainty.

Marathon has had operations in Europe since 2001. While it has previously bought non-performing loans in Britain, Ireland and Germany, its current focus is on Italy, Portugal and Spain.

“But we think we will have another bite of the apple in the UK,” Richards said.

Credit hedge funds are up 4.39 percent so far this year, according to industry tracker Hedge Fund Research.

Writing by Carolyn Cohn; Editing by Edmund Blair

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