Lenders with heft

With credit markets still tight, knowing the right bankers can be key to financing your infrastructure deal. It is of course difficult to agree on which lenders are the most influential. But when the Infrastructure Investor team swapped notes, and quizzed practitioners in the marketplace, the names of the ten financiers on this page kept coming up.

Gershon Cohen, Head of Project Finance, Lloyds Banking Group

A seasoned infrastructure banker, Gershon Cohen joined HBOS, which is now part of Lloyds, in 1998. Since then he has been involved in a number of high profile UK and European PPPs across the healthcare, transport, wastewater and education sectors. In 2008 HBOS was one of the leading banks in the $3.8 billion Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) PFI project. Most recently Cohen has led fundraising efforts for the bank’s first institutional $720 million infrastructure fund and is currently developing a primary infrastructure fund proposition that should hit the market later this year. 

Cheryl Fisher, Head of Project Finance, Western Europe, European Investment Bank

Ask anyone involved in European infrastructure and they’ll tell you this list wouldn’t be complete without Cheryl Fisher. With the European Investment Bank taking part in an increasing number of transactions, such as the $1.5 billion debt package for the M25 PPP in the UK, the EIB’s head of project finance for Western Europe, cuts a prominent figure in infrastructure banking circles. Fisher has been with the EIB since 1994, originally working as an economist at the institution. Prior to joining the bank she was an economic consultant focusing on the energy sector. 

Stephen Howard, Head of Infrastructure Project Finance, Barclays

Barclays Capital’s Stephen Howard is a man to watch not only for owning a large slice of the infrastructure  debt arranging  pie but also for increasing the size of it for everyone. A 25-year veteran of Lehman Brothers  when it was acquired by Barclays Capital last year, he  continues as  head of one of the  longest standing infrastructure project finance teams on Wall Street. When he can take time away from advising sponsors on high-profile projects like the Port of Miami Tunnel, he’s busy meeting with state and federal officials to find ways to expand the PPP market in the US. So if the Tappan Zee bridge project ever comes to fruition, he might be the man to thank – even if you’re not the mandated arranger on the deal. 

Dana Levenson, head of North American infrastructure banking, RBS

Few voices in the US’ infrastructure finance market speak with as much authority as Dana Levenson. The head of North American infrastructure banking has first hand experience of some of the largest deals in the US market from his time as chief financial officer of the City of Chicago, and now in the private sector as a banker for RBS. Like Barclays’ Howard, he does his bit to educate both the government and the public about the benefits of PPPs, most recently as a commissioner on the National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission. 

James Miller, Head of Secured Debt Markets, RBS

On the other side of the Atlantic, RBS remains a major lender to infrastructure, too – this despite its February announcement that it would be exiting project finance as part of a restructuring strategy aimed at returning the bank to profitability. Within its global banking and markets division in London, James Miller, head of secured debt, is the man in charge of originating and executing capital and loan market deals for utilities, infrastructure and project financing, among other sectors. Under his leadership, the firm has established a UK PPP department, headed by Vivek Sapra, to keep loans flowing to the sector.

Thomas Maier, Business Group Director for Infrastructure, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

When the bank lending market dried up, the role of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in extending financing to medium-sized infrastructure projects has become ever more important. Thomas Maier, the EBRD’s top man for infrastructure, joined the bank in 1993 from NatWest Markets. His role at the EBRD sees him help provide lending to a broad range of infrastructure projects, with the general aims of encouraging decentralisation, commercialisation and environmental improvement in the countries in which the bank lends. 

Gavin Munro, Head of Infrastructure Project Finance, Société Générale Corporate and Investment Banking

Since joining Hambros Bank, now  part of Société Générale, in 1997, Gavin Munro has been a key figure in a number of landmark infrastructure transactions, including the HOCHTIEF AirPort-led acquisition of Budapest Airport in 2007, the Gautrain Rapid Rail Link Project in South Africa and the Ministry of Defence’s D C-Vehicles PFI project. He is currently involved in high profile transport projects and acquisitions across Europe, including Gatwick and Copenhagen airports, the Thameslink rolling stock scheme and the A1 and A2 road projects in Poland. 

Adrian Olsen, Global Head of Project Finance, Bank of Ireland

A veteran of project finance, Adrian Olsen has over 22 years experience in the sector and is renowned for strong views on many issues. Since being part of the Midland Bank team which arranged the financing of the Channel Tunnel in 1986, Olsen has been involved at a senior level in closing more than 20 PFI deals. As BOI’s global head of project finance, he oversees a loan book worth over $5.6 billion. Before joining BOI in 2000, Olsen headed Dresdner Kleinwort Benson’s infrastructure lending business. Bank of Ireland was one of the lead arrangers on the $1.2 billion Greater Manchester Waste PFI, closed earlier this year. 

Mark Sullivan, Head of the US Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act credit programme

Today, more than ever, infrastructure deals need governments’ helping hands to reach financial close. In the US, one key government employee connected to the industry is Mark Sullivan, who heads the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) credit programme. Sullivan has been involved in all aspects of TIFIA since its launch in 1999. Without TIFIA’s help, the largest deal in the US market in recent months, the $1.9 billion I-595 corridor development in Florida, probably would not have closed. If you want to get a big deal done, you better give Sullivan a call – and have a good reason why he should lend to you. 

Laughlan Waterston, Head of PPP (EMEA), Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Europe

SMBC is one of the most active banks in the PPP space in Europe, particularly in the UK, with Laughlan Waterston and his team involved in a host of substantial projects spanning the infrastructure universe. Recent transactions include the being a lead arranger for the $1.2 billion Greater Manchester Waste PFI, the Paris-Sorbonne University project in Abu Dhabi and the Alberta Schools PPP in Canada, a joint effort with SMBC’s New York Office. To date Waterston’s team has committed to over 100 PPP schemes, lending more than $3.3 billion of senior debt in the process. 

Who’s missing? To tell us your views please email chris.j@peimedia.com