Ireland said to link up with BlueBay Asset Management for credit fund

BlueBay Asset Management, a London-based fixed-income investment firm, will join with Ireland's National Pensions Reserve Fund, Dublin, to create a fund offering loans to small- and medium-size companies in the country, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

The fund will raise as much as €450 million ($588 million), according to one of the people, who asked not to be identified as the matter isn't public.

The fund will be backed by €300 million of senior debt financing from investors, including the Irish authorities, in addition to €150 million from BlueBay and the Irish pension fund, said one of the people.

The fund, looking to start senior secured lending by the end of the first quarter, will seek to deliver an annual return of 15% for equity investors, said one of the people. Officials at BlueBay declined to comment. Ray Gordon, a spokesman for the €14 billion NPRF, wasn't immediately able to comment.