"Veteran Financiers Merge Boutiques to Pool Capabilities"
April 5, 2017 – Power Finance & Risk (Richard Metcalf)
A merchant bank and a boutique investment bank, each led by an experienced financier, have joined forces to form a new advisory firm focusing on
natural resources, energy, power and utility infrastructure.
The combined firm, called Ansonia Partners and based in New York, is the result of a merger between merchant bank ERM Capital and boutique
investment bank TAG Energy Partners that was completed in January.
Scott Medla, who founded and was managing partner of TAG Energy, and Craig Orchant, founder and managing partner of ERM, head up the new
firm as managing partners.
The two bankers previously worked closely together when Orchant’s tenure as head of project and structured finance at Deutsche Bank coincided
with Medla’s spell as head of power and utilities for North America at the bulge bracket firm in the late 1990s.
Ansonia’s offering includes advisory services relating to bank and institutional project debt raises, equity investments, M&A and other capital markets
The partnership will "draw together TAG Energy’s deep relationships in the power and utilities space and the provision of strategic investment
banking advisory services with ERM Capital’s capabilities in originating and structuring financing transactions," Orchant tells PFR.
The firm will also continue to engage in merchant banking through ERM, which will retain its name as an affiliate of the combined firm.
Ansonia is working on several assignments encompassing M&A and financial advisory for development stage renewable and transmission projects.
The firm is one of two financial advisers working with Denham Capital on its sale of Greenleaf Power, which owns a portfolio of four largely
contracted biomass plants totaling 140 MW in the U.S. and Canada. BNP Paribas is the other adviser.
Ansonia is also working on several mandates previously held by TAG Energy, including as adviser to SunZia, a subsidiary of SouthWestern Power
Group that is developing a 515 mile, 1,500 MW transmission line to transport generation from New Mexico to Arizona and California.
The SunZia project is "the furthest along of the large interstate transmission lines in the Southwest," Medla tells PFR, noting that its principal permits
are in place and it is expected to be supplied by wind projects that qualify for the full production tax credit. The project has an estimated construction
cost of $1 billion.
The firm is also advising on Nevada Hydro’s 500 MW Lake Elsinore Advanced Pumped Storage facility in the mountains west of Lake Elsinore,
The $1.1 billion project, which could help to mitigate the so-called 'duck curve’ phenomenon in California, has obtained its final environmental impact
statement and signed interconnection agreements, says Medla.
"The path forward is for the state to conclude what the revenue path will be," he adds, noting that cash flows from products other than generation
sales into the grid will be required for the project to be economically viable.
Cate Street Capital, Sunlight Partners, MMR Group, SmartEnergy Capital and Burgess Biopower are also among the
clients advised by the firm or its predecessors, according to its website.
Medla set up TAG Energy Partners in 2010 after a two-and-a-half-year stint as managing director at CIT. He has previously held managing director
titles at Deutsche Bank, Fieldstone Private Capital Group, New Harbor Capital and Bank of America and also worked at Citibank and Irving Trust Co. earlier in his career, according to his LinkedIn profile.
His co-managing partner at Ansonia, Orchant, founded merchant banking shop ERM Capital more recently, in 2016, following seven years at
another investment banking boutique, EA Markets, where he was a founding partner.
Orchant’s previous experience includes working as managing director first at Deutsche Bank, where he was head of project and structured finance,
and then at Barclays.