Ares Management Corp’s recognition across three categories in Power Finance & Risk’s 17th Annual Deals and Firms of the Year demonstrates the group’s continued strength across both private equity and credit following the further integration of the group and the launch of its Ares Infrastructure and Power brand under the leadership of Keith Derman and Andrew Pike.

Ares has been a fixture in power infrastructure credit since it burst onto the scene in 2011, and in energy private equity since its transformational acquisition of Energy Investors Funds in 2015. The combination brought John Buehler’s leading private equity franchise under the same roof as Ares’ existing, well-established credit and mezzanine investing capabilities.

The Renewable Energy Sponsor of the Year Award reflects the group’s expansion, as a private equity sponsor, into wind and solar. Market participants credit Steven Porto, a 2018 hire from GE Energy Financial Services, for driving the firm’s push into this area. He led on the financing of the largest single-phase wind project in the US – Aviator Wind – which has been described as “an exceptional deal.”

Another highlight of 2019 was the financing of the Hill Top Energy Center. Ares, remarkably, obtained an investment grade rating for the 10-year project bond, a first for a merchant CCGT project supported by a gas netback agreement. “That changed the paradigm for the industry,” notes a project finance banker.

Meanwhile, the group continued to shine as a lender and mezzanine capital investor, with deal watchers noting the firm’s shrewd move into the financing of development-stage renewable energy assets. Brian O’Connor and Mike Roth were both singled out for praise. Across the spectrum, interviewees describe the Ares team as “very professional, always commercial, and savvy in terms of what they’re doing.”

See all of the 2019/2020 awards

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