Investec was on a tear in 2019, sole-underwriting the largest new-build combined-cycle gas-fired deal of the year, leading on several refinancings of marquee power assets in the US, and earning the title of Conventional Power Lead Arranger of the Year.

The South African bank’s New York project finance outpost, led by Michael Pantelogianis and Ralph Cho, is “punching above its weight,” according to market participants. “It’s impressive,” says a senior project finance banker at a rival institution.

Besides acting as sole underwriter on the $1.025 billion project financing for Caithness Energy’s 1,836 MW Guernsey Power Station in Ohio, Investec also closed refinancings for behind-the-fence industrial generation business Primary Energy Recycling Corp, Ares Management’s Birdsboro Power Plant in Pennsylvania, Morgan Stanley Infrastructure PartnersBayonne Energy Center in New Jersey and an amend-and-extend transaction for The Carlyle Group’s Rhode Island State Energy Center.

“Investec has had a strong campaign to win sponsors’ business,” noted one rival. “And they are so reliable at getting these deals done.”

The judging panel attributed Investec’s success primarily to the co-heads of project finance in New York. “They really drive the business, and they both bring different skillsets,” said a client.

Pantelogianis won praise for his “creativity” in structuring “tailored solutions,” while Ralph is “head and shoulders better at syndication than anyone in the commercial bank space,” according to client. “He finds where there are pockets of demand for the credit that is being contemplated and brings those guys into the fold.”

The Investec team’s market knowledge is unparalleled, said the judges. “They know exactly, almost down to the basis point, where the market is,” said a rival project finance banker. “They have the pulse on the market.”

See all of the 2019/2020 awards


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