Bertrand Guiot has joined Natixis’ Sydney office as head of global infrastructure & projects, Australia.
Guiot has relocated from Montreal, Canada, where he helped launch the bank’s activities in 2012 during his stint as executive director of Natixis’s Global Infrastructure & Projects practice.
In his new role, he reports to Daniel Klinger, head of aircraft, export and infrastructure finance for Asia Pacific, and locally to Michael Lang, senior country manager, Natixis Australia.
Guiot’s main focus will be to grow liquidity for infrastructure projects through increased non-bank investor activity, tapping North American investors’ willingness to enter Australia and provide the long-term debt solutions they are used to providing in their own countries.
“In Australia, there are hardly any opportunities at present for hybrid short-term financing of greenfield infrastructure construction projects, unlike in Canada where short-term bank tranches bridge the construction and where long-term (with tenors ranging from 25 to 30 years) rated bonds are issued and sold to institutional investors such as the insurance companies,” said Guiot.
“In Canada we are one of the very few, if not the only international player, besides the Schedule I Canadian Banks, able to provide bond solutions for infrastructure, together with our local partners Casgrain. Here in Australia, there is a huge funding gap, a three-digit billion figure, in infrastructure development, so the market seems keen to welcome (on large transactions) non-bank financial investors’ input here to improve liquidity,” he added.
For the initiative, the company is drawing experience from its involvement in institutional infrastructure financing, developed via its partnerships with leading insurance groups in Europe, such as Ageas and CNP Assurance. It has also recently created a debt platform providing opportunities for the latter to diversify their portfolios and become increasingly confident in the asset class. It hopes to foster the same familiarity with infrastructure assets for non-bank financial investors in Asia Pacific, including Australia.
The Natixis Global Infrastructure & Projects team is pushing the development of institutional investors’ involvement in infrastructure funding by sponsoring infrastructure asset class-specific research done by the EDHEC-Risk Institute. The research aims to clarify the nature and investment profile of infrastructure debt instruments for new investors that are coming to infrastructure project finance.
“Whereas the private equity market has been quite slow with only a few big transactions and a number of refinancing projects, we believe there are positive signs for increased activity and that’s something we will be following closely next year,” said Lang.
Over the past 18 months, Guiot has participated in the successful closing of six renewable transactions (wind, solar and biomass projects) totaling 700 megawatts, supported the bank’s clients on PPP transactions in North America and led a financial advisory mandate on a greenfield telecom submarine cable financing.
Prior to Natixis, Guiot was at Dexia in Montreal, in charge of project finance activities across the country, closing numerous PPP financings and advising on renewable energy transactions.