Born in Australia, based in New York, bullish on Mexico

Gathered in a boardroom at their 30 Rockefeller Center office in New York, Andrew Cunanan, David Elizondo and Tom Maher – who together hold down the fort for the US operation of Access Capital Advisers – were eager to clear up doubt on what the Australia-based infrastructure investor has come to regard as a market with a bum rap.

Mexico, according to Cunanan, nominally the head of the Big Apple office, is a place with high potential for infrastructure. While he accepts that the US media focus is largely centred on the country’s ongoing drug war, Access has not been dissuaded from doing business there. 

Last fall, Access bought a 40 percent stake in Mexico City-headquartered Integrated Gas Service de Mexico, or Igasamex, a natural gas distribution operator, from SaskEnergy. That investment, according to Maher, has been a “positive learning experience” for Access.

Mexico has an “infrastructure-friendly government,” explains Elizondo, with a favorable legal and financial framework in place. Further, energy and transportation there are poised for growth, he adds. But despite its Igasamex stake and frequent visits to the country, Access is cautious to evaluate the country’s infrastructure market on a “case-by-case basis,” he points out.

For now, Access is keen to observe the outcome of the upcoming Mexican presidential election (Felipe Calderon’s six-year term is set to expire). But, long term, the company is bullish. “The enabling legislation [a public-private partnership law went into effect this year] has helped to provide a lot more clarity,” Maher explains. “We’ve had time to get comfortable with the country on a macroeconomic level.”