Trilantic eyes $500 mln for energy pool

Firm: Trlantic Capital Partners

Fund: Trilantic Energy Partners (North America) LP

Target: $500 million

Amount raised: Yet to sell

Placement Agent: Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC

Trilantic will follow on the heels of other generalist players from the buyout world to bear down on the growth of the U.S. energy infrastructure, as oil and gas companies develop domestic shale resources from Texas to North Dakota in the mid-continent, Colorado in the west, and Ohio and Pennsylvania in the Northeast, among other hot spots.

While Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co, The Carlyle Group and The Blackstone Group all have launched energy-related funds, fewer mid-market firms have jumped into the arena, apart from shops specifically mandated to focus on energy such as Riverstone Holdings, Post Oak Energy Capital or  BP Natural Gas Opportunity Partners. Also on the energy front, Flag Capital has closed its third private equity fund-of-funds focused on energy and natural resources, hitting its $200 million hard cap, according to a recent report by Fortune.

Energy remains familiar with Trilantic, which lists the sector among its core areas of expertise, along with business services, consumer, financial services and media and telecom.

Among its first deals from its latest flagship fund, Trilantic Capital Partners V, the firm invested about $150 million in equity each for domestic upstream oil and gas firms Templar Energy LLC and Trail Ridge Energy Partners II LLC. Other energy firms on Trilantic’s deal roster include Bowman Power Ltd, Castex Energy Inc, Peabody Energy Corp, Velvet Energy Ltd and Tlp Energy LLC.

Among the firm’s list of executives, Christopher Manning, a partner, focuses on investments in the energy sector, according to the firm’s website. Manning also has worked as chief financial officer of the Wing Group, a developer of international power projects, and he is a director of Antero Resources, a publicly traded exploration and production company.

Charlie Ayres, a partner at Trilantic and its chairman, told Buyouts earlier this year that the firm works to avoid auctions by focusing on deals with entrepreneurs and family business owners. Over the years, about one third of its deals have been minority positions with 30 percent to 49 percent ownership, which Ayres calls “power minorities.” Such deals are looking appealing now in the face of loftier auction price multiples for controlling stakes in target companies.

Ayres is listed as a related person in a May 6 Form D filing for Trilantic Energy Partners, along with Manning, Eugene James, Jon Mattson, Charles Moore and Elliot Attie. The Form D lists a of $250,000 minimum investment level for an outside investor in the fund.

Trilantic said in December it closed Trilantic Capital Partners V (North America) with $2.2 billion in commitments, ahead of its $2.0 billion target.

Fund V marked the firm’s first stand-alone fund since it emerged from Lehman Brothers, which filed for bankruptcy in September 2008. The firm was formerly called Lehman Brothers Merchant Banking.