First Reserve to mine Asian deals from Hong Kong

Jamie Paton and Allen Gu, former senior executives at Candover Asia, will lead the energy investor's first Asian office.

First Reserve Corporation, the global energy investor, has highlighted its ambitions in Asia with the opening of its first regional office in Hong Kong and two prominent hires.

“Energy demand and intensity continues to increase in Asia,” William Macaulay, chairman and chief executive officer of First Reserve, said in a statement, “We believe that the fastest rates of growth from urbanisation and industrialisation are in the emerging economies, and so the resources supplying those economies and the resulting need for energy services and infrastructure in these markets are of great interest to us and our portfolio companies.”

We believe that the fastest rates of growth from urbanisation and industrialisation are in the emerging economies.

Bill Macaulay

Spearheading operations are newly appointed Jamie Paton and Allen Gu, who will take on the roles of managing director and director, respectively. They are joined by an existing team which will relocate to Hong Kong over the upcoming year.

Paton and Gu join First Reserve from European firm Candover’s defunct Hong Kong operations, where they both held senior positions.

Paton’s responsibilities will include sourcing deals, conducting due diligence, execution and monitoring, and include leadership of the Hong Kong office and business development in Asia. Prior to Candover, he was a partner in 3i's Global Growth Capital business, where he was responsible for 3i’s presence in North Asia and where he co-led 3i’s Asia program.

His colleague, Gu, will take on similar duties at First Reserve. Prior to joining First Reserve, he was a vice president at Candover Asia, where he was responsible for finding and executing deals in China. He had previously held positions at Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia and Goldman Sachs.

First Reserve is no stranger to the Asia-Pacific region, having invested in companies in China, Singapore, India and Australia. Its former Asian portfolio companies include Beijing-based Asian American Coal and Asian Energy Holdings, which focus on coal and coal steam gas.

Current holdings include Singapore-based oil and gas company KrisEnergy; Pune-based wind turbine manufacturer and marketer Kenersys and two Brisbane-based companies, Connect Resource Services, engaged in mining services in Australia and Mongolia; and Southern Cross, which has extensive coal holdings in the region including publicly-listed Whitehaven Coal. First Reserve also holds a position acquired pre-IPO in China Coal, the second largest coal company in China.