EXPERIENCED resources investment bankers Neville Gardiner and Jeremy Carlberg are preparing to launch a new corporate advisory outfit in Perth called Torridon Partners, adding further diversity to the sector in Western Australia.
Mr Carlberg, an infrastructure specialist, was at Merrill Lynch for the past 12 months after spending more than a year working for the state government’s Department of State Development on major projects such as Oakajee.
Both were colleagues at Macquarie prior to Mr Gardiner joining Merrill Lynch. Mr Carlberg, who was manager of Macquarie’s Investment Banking Group, is understood to have worked on the sale of Sydney Airport, recapitalising the Dampier-to-Bunbury Gas Pipeline and several transactions involving former energy utility group Alinta.
Among his recent big deals, Mr Gardiner was involved in selling the Ravensthorpe nickel mine for BHP Billiton; he also advised Newcrest Mining on its $10 billion takeover of Lihir Gold.
Torridon is understood to be moving into newly leased premises on King Street in Perth’s CBD.
The new group plans to have half a dozen people within a year and will work across the resources spectrum Australia wide.
The investment banking sector has been rapidly evolving in WA as bigger players jostle to find the right people to establish themselves in Perth, a market that has remained relatively active during the current global economic downturn.
Mr Gardiner has previously told WA Business News he did not wish to start again at another big investment bank, despite strong demand for people of his calibre.
In other recent investment banking news, boutique Perth corporate advisory firm PCF Capital Group was preparing for an early 2012 launch of a stock broking division.
The move reflects growing diversification within the state’s increasingly competitive, but active, advisory sector. Boutique rival Azure Capital has announced the launch of a management consulting business and has also poached Adrian Arundell from KPMG to develop its investment banking capability in the private companies sector.
Argonaut has gone for geographic reach, opening an office in the increasingly important Hong Kong market.
New players are also emerging. Earlier this year, former Euroz director Karl Paganin established an Australian corporate finance presence in Perth for listed Canadian financial services group GMP.