Return to search

Energy Powerhouse Eyes Asia Expansion

Executives at First Reserve Corp., the energy-focused investment firm that’s invested $12.5 billion since 1983, are debating an expansion into Asia, Managing Director Alex Krueger told Buyouts.

The plans are in their earliest stages and no office openings or personnel changes are imminent, Krueger said.

Three spots where the Greenwich, Conn.-based firm is focusing for a possible office are Hong Kong, Beijing and Singapore, for now, Krueger said. “We are actively talking about what the best location is,” he said.

An Asia presence would be a natural progression for First Reserve, which has invested around $1.2 billion of equity in the region in the last five years in six companies.

The firm’s portfolio includes China Coal Energy Co. Ltd., the second largest coal company in China and the fifth largest public coal company in the world measured by coal reserves, according to First Reserve; and KrisEnergy Holdings Ltd., an oil and gas company established in 2009 aimed at building a portfolio of exploration and development assets in Asia. “We have a substantial amount of experience there and appreciate the proximity to Asia as one of the fundamental demand drivers,” Krueger said.

First Reserve, which also has an office in Houston, first expanded internationally in 2004 with an office in London.

The firm typically invests $200 million to $500 million of equity in its deals, which span the full spectrum of the energy industry. Its portfolio of 26 companies includes exploration and production companies, mining companies, and service providers to energy companies, among others. First Reserve’s most recent deal came last month, when it agreed to sell Dresser Inc., an Addison, Texas-based company that makes valves, meters, pumps and other energy infrastructure equipment, to General Electric Co. for $3 billion.

The firm is currently investing from 12th fund, which it closed in 2009 at $9 billion.