Encina Capital Partners and an affiliate of certain funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management launched Encina Equipment Finance (EEF), a new independent equipment finance company targeting non-investment grade borrowers in the U.S. and Canada that cannot obtain required equipment financing from traditional banks.
EEF will be led by its four founding partners – Andrew Salter (Encina’s CEO), Jason Wolff (Encina’s chief investment officer), William Brasser and Ron Fontana.
Brian Laibow, managing director at Oaktree, said, “We are excited to partner with Encina and the talented team at EEF to build a well-capitalized, non-bank equipment finance company that differentiates itself through a consultative and solution-oriented approach to working with customers to help them achieve their objectives.”
Brasser served as co-chief risk officer for GE Capital, Americas from 2005 to 2014, where he led the risk management function for a $50 billion portfolio across six businesses in North America, including multiple business involved in equipment lending and leasing. Brasser was named an officer of GE in 2006 and currently serves as a senior adviser to Encina and Encina Business Credit.
Prior to retiring from GE Capital in 2016, Fontana served as senior risk officer responsible for the risk management function at the company’s direct equipment finance business.
EEF’s founding partners are joined by two senior executives who also spent the majority of their respective careers at GE Capital. Rick Matte, who was named EEF’s president and chief commercial officer, previously served as president of Webster Capital Finance, where he was responsible for the commercial, risk management and operations functions at Webster Bank’s equipment finance subsidiary. Before joining Webster Bank in 2015, Matte spent 13 years at GE Capital in various commercial roles of increasing responsibility.
In addition, James Giaquinto joined EEF as vice president of operations & underwriting. Giaquinto spent approximately 18 years at GE Capital, where he most recently served as global compliance risk assessment and data analytics leader.
Danbury, CT-based EEF will provide loans and leases ranging in size from $5 million to $25 million and secured by essential-use machinery and equipment. The platform provides financing to both privately-owned (sponsor and non-sponsor) and publicly-traded companies across a wide range of collateral types, industries (including, but not limited to, construction, distribution, energy, food processing, healthcare, information technology, manufacturing, mining, paper and packaging as well as transportation) and use cases (including loans against existing or newly-acquired assets, leases of newly-acquired assets and sale-leasebacks of existing assets).
EEF’s customers will use financing proceeds to fund new capital expenditures, working capital, refinancings, growth, restructurings/turnarounds and other special situations. For those customers seeking a new revolving line of credit in addition to equipment financing, EEF intends to partner with its sister company, Encina Business Credit, to deliver a combined solution.
EEF is already underwriting potential transactions and expects to announce additional hires in the coming months.
“We feel fortunate to be partnering with Oaktree Investor, Willie Brasser and Ron Fontana to launch this new platform at a time when we believe that many companies stand to benefit significantly from a more flexible, non-bank equipment financing product,” Salter said. “We’re also thrilled to have attracted such high-caliber executives as Rick Matte and James Giaquinto to help us build the company.”