[Context: On November 13, Ecological Service Partners announced a $250m equity commitment from undisclosed backers. The company appears to be a new entrant to the mitigation banking sector, which creates ecological offsets for project developers. Further details, advisers and related links are below.]
Ecological Service Partners Secures $250 Million Equity Commitment
DALLAS & WASHINGTON–November 13, 2017–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Ecological Service Partners, LLC (“ESP”) announced it has secured a $250 million equity commitment from its financial partners. The new equity will support ESP’s activities in large-scale ecological restoration of damaged wetlands, streams and habitats for endangered species, as well as in enhancing water quality for offsets to nutrient impacts. With $250 million of committed equity capital, ESP is now one of the best capitalized operators in the ecological service market, enabling ESP to restore thousands of acres of wetlands and hundreds of miles of impacted streams. ESP will also opportunistically pursue strategic acquisitions in the US.
ESP founders, Jud Hill and Murray Starkel, have over 50 years of experience in environmental services, along with successful investing track records in both the government and private sectors. Mr. Hill and Mr. Starkel were former colleagues at NGP Energy Capital Management (“NGP”), a leading energy-focused private equity firm that has managed over $17 billion of cumulative capital commitments.
Mr. Starkel commented: “Ecological Service Partners has the ability to support the over $50 billion of near-term construction in the US that requires compensatory mitigation. ESP is positioned favorably to be the provider of choice for the massive infrastructure work in the pipeline, which will drive significant environmental and economic value creation.”
Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP served as legal counsel to ESP.
About ESP: ESP was established in 2016 to capitalize on opportunities in environmental services and water related investments. The founders recognized the opportunity to combine environmental domain expertise with intelligent and patient capital to benefit from regulatory-driven compensatory spend. ESP has offices in Dallas, TX and Washington, DC.
Mr. Hill has over 35 years of experience as an operator and private equity investor across the water resources, environmental services and energy sectors. Mr. Hill has an established and successful investment track record as a private equity professional, having served over the last 15 years as a Managing Director with Texas Pacific Group (“TPG”), The Halifax Group, and NGP. Prior to that he was a Managing Director with HSBC overseeing the water and industrial services investment banking practice. Early in Mr. Hill’s career, he served in executive management positions with Atlantic Richfield and Westinghouse Environmental Services.
Mr. Starkel has over 25 years of experience in full-cycle large-scale program development including raising capital, working with federal, state and local regulatory agencies, and executing complex construction projects. Mr. Starkel previously spent 21 years as an officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (“USACE”). While in USACE, Mr. Starkel was Deputy Commander of the New Orleans District in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. In this role, he managed the $15 billion program to design and build the new hurricane protection system in Southeast Louisiana. Following his military career, Mr. Starkel joined NGP as a Managing Director. Most recently, Mr. Starkel was with Ecosystem Investment Partners, a private equity firm with over $500 million under management focused on land based ecosystem offsets such as wetland and stream mitigation banking as well as endangered species and water quality and quantity trading.