Miguel, many thanks for joining us today, for our readers who might be unaware of all that Blackrock does across the region, can you give us a brief overview of its work?
BlackRock has had a strong presence in the region for many years as the leading asset manager in traded funds and investment mandates. Recently, it expanded its capabilities into real assets with the acquisition of the leading private equity infrastructure investment platform in Mexico. BlackRock Infrastructure Mexico manages over a billion US$ of equity investments in a range of projects that go from social infra, roads and of course, energy. In that portfolio BlackRock has some milestone investments such as Los Ramones pipeline, an strategic 750 km interconnection to bring natural gas from the US into Mexico’s industrial central region, and Sierra Oil and Gas, the first Mexican independent E&P company who was awarded the first 2 blocks after the industry opening in 2015.
Can you also provide an insight into your role at BlackRock?
As Managing Director my role is to lead the deal teams that perform the investment functions, from origination, evaluation, closing, asset management and eventually, divestitures. We follow a typical private equity structure, where deal teams live with their projects from inception through exit. We believe this creates accountability as fiduciaries and exposes the team to all stages of an investment, developing well-rounded professionals.
What sparked Blackrock’s interest in Mexican infrastructure and how did you take advantage of the opportunities?
Mexico has stand out for a couple of decades now as one of the most stable economies among emerging markets with unparalleled fundamentals to support attractive growth . On top of this, the transformational reforms passed in the first couple of years of President Peña's administration, created the perfect setting for private infrastructure investment. BlackRock knew it was important to have strong local ties and domestic investors to better capture this opportunity, so, in that context, I cuadrada, a local player with 2 CKDs, was the perfect match. The rest is history.
Blackrock’s activity in Mexico is on the rise. How does it affect your global activities and what are the next steps for you in Mexico?
Globally, BlackRock Infrastructure has been a powerhouse for renewable energy and infra debt. Our initial expectations have been more than exceeded. We are starting to see how opportunities for BlackRock Infrastructure global organization are arising in Mexico. We have ambitious plans for Mexico and Latin America in general, both in scale and breadth of presence.
Where do you see the major challenges for midstream players in Mexico in the upcoming 12 months?
As new regulation kicks in, I believe liquids logistics will present both the best opportunity and the biggest challenges for private players.
If you could magically make one change in the industry, what would it be?
To skip the learning curve of everyone involved: regulators, off takers, banks, developers, etc.
Although I guess it would take out some of the fun, too.
About Miguel Viramontes
Mr. Viramontes is a Managing Director of the Mexico Infrastructure Group at BlackRock. In this role, he is responsible for originating, structuring, financing and managing a portfolio of diversified infrastructure assets in several sectors, including transportation, water, energy and social infrastructure. He joined BlackRock in October 2015 with the acquisition of I Cuadrada, a privately owned infrastructure investment manager in Mexico. Mr. Viramontes has over 12 years of private equity investing and development experience in Real Assets, and prior to that 5 years as a management consultant. Mr. Viramontes is a Civil Engineer from the Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí and holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the Stern School of Business at New York University.