HgCapital sets up energy fund panel

Private equity house HgCapital is creating a standalone panel for its renewable energy investment group Hg Renewable Power Partners Fund to operate as a separate entity from its regular panel.

HgCapital general counsel John Kitching said that, as the fund has a specialist focus on renewable energy investments, a specialist panel is required to reflect that.

The buyout house’s normal panel is made up of Linklaters, Dickson Minto, SJ Berwin, Clifford Chance and Weil Gotshal & Manges, with the latter two replacing Lovells last summer following a number of high-profile departures: HgCapital favourite Oliver Felsenstein left Lovells for Clifford Chance, while Marco Compagnoni and Jonathan Wood left for Weil.

The renewable energy fund was raised by Debevoise & Plimpton in the latter half of 2006, with fund manager Tom Murley having a strong relationship with the firm. On the transactional side, the fund requires its legal advisers to have energy and project finance focuses, said Kitching.

The fund has made a number of investments so far this year, with the London office of US firm Vinson & Elkins advising.

“We want to widen out the number of advisers on the fund because there will inevitably be conflicts,” said Kitching. “We’ve gone out to various firms and they’ve made submissions. We’ll come to a decision by the end of the month, with the expectation that the panel will have two or three firms.”

As the fund is pan-European, the firms will also either be European or will have significant presences in Europe.