The Inter-American Corporation for Infrastructure Financing (CIFI) has two new senior-level executives at its helm with the appointments of César Cañedo-Argüelles and Marc Ricart.
Cañedo-Argüelles initially joined CIFI in 2002 as manager of business development and served in increasingly senior positions, most recently that of managing director of structured finance, which he assumed in April 2010.
He succeeds former chief executive Juan José Juste, a spokesperson told Infrastructure Investor. Juste has left the organisation and returned to his native Spain.
Prior to joining CIFI, Cañedo-Argüelles served as manager of international development and then as chief financial officer at Prointec, an engineering consulting group based in Madrid.
“In September 2015, I was promoted to chief executive and the position I had was managing director of the structuring team,” Cañedo-Argüelles said during a phone interview. “Marc [Ricart] was working on my team so I promoted Marc as managing director of the team,” he adds.
Ricart has been with CIFI for more than a decade. Before joining CIFI, he had worked as a consultant for the Inter-American Development Bank, whose subsidiary at the time, the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC), established CIFI in cooperation with Caja Madrid.
“The IIC was one of the founding shareholders of CIFI,” Cañedo-Argüelles explained. “In 2014, the IIC sold its stake in CIFI.”
Today, CIFI’s largest shareholder is Norfund, the Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries, which owns a 31.97 percent interest in the organization. Panamanian bank Banistmo, Portugal’s Caixa Banco de Investimento, and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration each own stakes of 11.34 percent. CIFI’s other shareholders include the Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation (FinnFund), Itau-Unibanco, Banco Pichincha, the IFC and the Caribbean Development Bank.
In addition to the two promotions, CIFI has undergone an internal re-organisation, with the appointment of Juan Pablo Moreno as chief risk officer and Arturo De Bernard as investor relations manager.
CIFI continues its original mission which is to fund small and medium-size infrastructure projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. To date, it has participated in the financing of 160 infrastructure projects worth $1.3 billion.
In a recent statement that accompanied the announcement of its new leadership team, CIFI said that it is “firmly supporting” the Dominican Republic, which it considers to be a destination for international investment in infrastructure. Around 10 percent of the projects it has funded so far have been in the Dominican Republic and have resulted in a total investment of $1 billion. These include the Punta Cana-Macao Energy Consortium, which generates and transmits electricity in the tourist area of Punta Cana, Macao, Bavaro and Bayahibe and airport facilities such as La Romana International Airport.
“The Dominican Republic Government has set a target of 10 million foreign visitors before 2022,” CIFI said in the statement. “Investing in infrastructure to improve road connections and minimize travelling times is a strategic issue for the country.”
It pledged its support to the country’s government by providing advice on structuring new or on-going funding for projects and identifying investment opportunities.
Cañedo-Argüelles and Ricart will be based in Washington DC. Approximately half of the 25-member team is based in Panama, with the majority expected to move there by year-end.
“We are a middle-market niche player so we want to have boots on the ground,” Cañedo-Argüelles said. “We want to develop strategic relationships and that’s much easier to do when you have boots on the ground and people in the region. And Panama is an excellent logistics hub; we can be within one hour in any country, any city, which is why we’re moving 85% of the team to Panama,” he added.