Having been in the investment banking business for the past nine years, Ashish Agarwal, director, infrastructure, Equirus Capital, has been spearheading deal-making in infrastructure.
At Equirus Capital, his role is to lead the origination and execution of investment banking and corporate finance transactions in infrastructure. He has been closely following the sector in its various phases, between periods of government inaction and policy paralysis to a period where the government has taken centre stage.
Agarwal’s most memorable assignment was raising structured funding for Orient Green Power, a renewable energy company owned by the Shriram Group. It was a complex structuring assignment and required a lot of persistence and patience to deliver value to the client.
The main challenge when one has such a wide mandate, Agarwal feels, is to spot key trends at an early stage and act upon them, especially in an extremely competitive deal-making market. “For example, we were fortunate to have spotted the road sector M&A trend early in 2013-14 and have thereby managed to get a decent share of road M&A transactions which have been announced in past two years,” says Agarwal.
He believes that infrastructure is no longer a vanilla market. “To make yourself relevant and valued, you have to have the expertise and reach to offer diverse and more complex products in the sector. The key for advisers like us is to spot ideal products (masala bonds, InvITs, etc.) which help institutional yield-based investors meet capital-starved infrastructure conglomerates to invest in the latter’s risk-free operational infrastructure assets,” he says.
Agarwal is a focused and determined individual with an analytical bent of mind. He avoids being emotionally attached to any transaction and that helps in being logical during crisis situations. He believes his quality to be able to articulate well is key to managing people in a deal-making environment, though he accepts that he tends to get impatient and likes to control situations more than he should.
Agarwal has an MBA from the Symbiosis Institute of Business Management and a bachelor’s in management studies from Mithibai College, Mumbai. In his spare time, Agarwal either watches or plays sports, especially cricket. He enjoys spending time with his four-year-old son. His father has a business in textiles and his mother is a homemaker. His wife has started a small venture in crafts and gift making.