Marcus Whately, Co-CEO, Estover Energy:
Estover builds small power stations. We burn wood and generate electricity and heat in the UK.
Max Aitken, Co-CEO, Estover Energy:
We do everything in the conception, development, engineering, design, financing and then operation of these plants.
We use low grade wood, the bits at the top of the tree that are too narrow, the branches and the bits at the bottom that can’t be made into typical wood products.
We take the waste that’s left over, ship it up and take it to the plant. So its waste fuel that we can generate power from.
There are not many people in infrastructure finance. We went out to 15 banks, and it really only came down to Barclays in the end. They were the guys willing to really understand what we did. Everybody else said ‘OK, there’s a framework, and actually, sorry guys you don’t really fit inside it’.
Whereas Barclays said ‘No, we think this can work. We’ll do something different, something specialist’.
Howard Hughes, Relationship Director, Barclays:
As the Estover project started to develop in scope and gain momentum, we found that they needed additional services from the bank in terms of investment banking and specialist project financing.
Barclays supported the project with a team that really got under the skin of it to understand exactly how it all worked. They’re very complex projects, people hadn’t done them before and getting from a finance point of view, working out what was and wasn’t possible, because at £150 million, you’ve got to be really sure how it all fits together.
The relationship between Barclays and Estover is a wide one. There are a number of teams involved. Our role is to bring those specialties, the knowledge of individual product groups, to Estover.
We needed that expertise, it was there. How would we have found it? But our relationship director helped us find it and helped those pieces of the puzzle fit together.
In starting this business, I wanted to do something that would leave a legacy. But that’s not enough. You’ve got to have a business. From a vision of doing something good to doing something that makes money, something people can invest in, is tricky.
And the relationship with Barclays was critical in bringing those two things together to make sure it was good, that it could happen, and now is a power station, two power stations, three powers stations...