Interview: Alberto Curto, Corpfin Capital
“Having previously worked in investment banking I know exactly what good investment banking looks like, and I see it in my dealings with Clearwater. Clearwater’s Spanish team have worked together for many years and we have been working with them on specific deals for around the last five years.
“I would describe our relationship as very strong. This is a people business and we get along with everyone at the firm very well. Whilst very good professionals, senior Clearwater partners are also very down to earth and easy going and this is not something you always find in the industry.”
“Clearwater partners have fantastic access to businesses across Spain and this is very powerful. When we have worked with Clearwater we have found their access to companies is just as good as you would get when dealing with the big four or large banks.
“However what is quite unique about Clearwater is not just its access to companies, but also its ability to access the key people who we need to meet. If I was working with the big four and wanted to connect with a specific company I might not know which individual from that big four firm would make the call to the company.
“Senior Clearwater partners are prepared to roll up their sleeves and always know before that call is made what the scenario is, who are the people to know, and what is the best way to approach the company. That is worth its weight in gold.”
“In terms of specific sectors we have worked a lot with Clearwater in the chemical and food ingredients sector, typified by our investment in Secna, a manufacturer of natural colours for the food and drink industry. Clearwater has a very good knowledge of the dynamics of these industries, its participants, and know the trends from its global intelligence.
“We had been looking at this sector for a while and Secna was introduced to us by Clearwater who knew exactly who we should meet and whether there was a deal or not. Indeed deal origination is an area where Clearwater can offer really high value.
“By the time we arrived for that first meeting with Secna we knew what we could say and, importantly, what we couldn’t say too. This was a major reason why the company chose to do the deal with us. From the beginning there was a very good chemistry and Clearwater had already gained the trust of the management team. As time went on we were also able to pull the deal together without competitors entering the transaction thanks to the work done by Clearwater.”
“The fact that senior Clearwater partners on the ground have this sector knowledge based on their international exposure and connections is very significant. Clearwater can explain to us what is happening in these sectors in other countries and what the global trends are.
“It is one of the things that makes Clearwater different. It is that sector expertise along with the seniority of the partners you are dealing with. Clearwater also earns a lot of trust with companies and can provide that link between the PE house and the company. This can be invaluable when it comes to sorting difficult problems as they emerge during negotiations.”