Change created a need to bring parties together to capture growth
Washington Equity Partners W|E|P
Following a rewarding banking effort, Mr. Manoogian became interested in the opportunity being created by global changes. Drawing on his investment banking experience, he sought a new form of challenge.
At the outset of 1990's, economic and political changes in emerging markets were providing investment opportunities in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union, Asia, Latin America, and Africa. With relationships gained on Wall Street from his prior financing activities, he relocated to Washington DC and began by providing advisory services to some of the emerging investment firms that were beginning to focus on these markets. Having confirmed his sense of the opportunity, he co-founded Washington Equity Partners along with members of the investment bank Wasserstein Perella. He served as the Managing Partner from the firm's founding.
From offices in Washington DC, London, and San Francisco, W|E|P acted as a merchant bank; advising, making investments in, and arranging financing for ventures in the transport/logistics, real estate, energy and telecommunications sectors in emerging market countries. The firm's activities focused on these necessary drivers of economic activity without which sustainable levels of growth were unlikely. More simply rendered, we felt that it made common sense to deploy capital in a manner that achieved solutions to the following needs:
- the efficient transport of goods and people,
- a decent place to stay and operate,
- the lights staying on, and
- the ability to make a phone call.
Many now may take these things for granted, but that was not the case in our target markets at the time. A typical venture structure involved a western strategic operating partner, a local in-country partner, capital from W|E|P and others, and in some cases, structured debt financing.
As the decade unfolded, W|E|P efforts became increasingly focused on the deployment of mobile telephony networks. Telephony ultimately accounted for over half of the firm's activity during this period of unprecedented global growth in the sector. W|E|P favored mobile telephony because it offered relatively rapid and cost effective deployment of network infrastructure, rapid consumer acceptance, and the ability to leapfrog inefficient legacy fixed line operators, mainly state-owned PTT's.
As an extension of its financial advisory practice, W|E|P partnered with AON, a worldwide insurance provider, to create Global Risk Services, an early provider of insurance-based alternative risk transfer or credit default protection. GRS focused on providing credit enhancement in support of infrastructure project finance debt structures. As an adjunct of our telephony activities, GRS also developed a niche supporting the securitization of telecom equipment vendor finance portfolios, helping to manage balance sheet risk for companies like Motorola and others who were providing large debt and equity financing commitments to operators in support of equipment sales.