Sir Gerry Robinson joins Clunie's Ancala Partners

The leading businessman has been appointed a founding partner of fund manager Ancala Partners, the London-based start-up founded by former Macquarie Capital veteran Spence Clunie.

Sir Gerry Robinson has joined Ancala Partners, the London-based fund manager set up by former Macquarie Capital veteran Spence Clunie, as a founding partner.
 
Robinson, the current chairman of UK service stations operator Moto Hospitality, has chaired flagship consumer-facing businesses, including television groups BSkyB, ITN, Granada and spirits company Allied Domecq.
 
“Our focus will be on adding real value through driving operational performance and cash flow growth,” Robinson said in a statement. “Having worked with Spence and the team before, I believe that we have the right people and the right timing to implement this strategy,” he added.
 
Robinson and Clunie worked together when Clunie, then head of Macquarie Capital’s debt business in Europe, led the acquisition of Moto Hospitality in June 2006. Robinson was appointed chairman of the firm shortly after the acquisition.
 
Ancala bills itself as “an independent equity manager focused on investing in operational infrastructure and essential service businesses in Europe requiring new capital”. The firm is seeking to deploy capital “in privately negotiated transactions resulting from the current funding market”.
 
Clunie has spoken in the past of a “refinancing wall” as the highly leveraged infrastructure transactions completed prior to 2007 come due for refinancing in a liquidity-constrained banking market. A substantial amount of debt will come to maturity over the next four years at a time when many banks are seeking to reduce their exposures and rating agencies are becoming more conservative.
 
With assets needing to reduce leverage in order to achieve refinancings, a potential funding gap arises as fund managers lack capital or are unwilling to inject fresh capital if they are on the fundraising trail. It is this funding gap that Ancala’s new fund will presumably seek to address by injecting fresh equity or junior debt.
 
Clunie joined Macquarie Capital in April 2005 and built its UK and European debt team from scratch. During those five years, the debt team raised €96 billion of capital for infrastructure and essential service companies.Prior to joining Macquarie, Clunie was head of Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein’s acquisition finance business.