Meridian Capital Group: Merchant Bankers
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MCG is focused on providing project financing for infrastructure projects in emerging growth nations with a budget of between $5 million and $25 million. This mid-range financing is typically too small to attract the attention of major funding agencies and banks. As a result, emerging growth nations do not receive their share of over $1.5 trillion of grant funding available from donors such as the World Bank, USAID, Asian Development Bank and more than 200 foundations and agencies worldwide. Further, private investors lack the ability to participate in the growth of leading-edge technology companies that provide machinery and processes enabling basic social amenities such as clean water, sewer treatment, medical facilities and energy systems.

To help solve the infrastructure problems faced by emerging growth nations in the South Pacific and elsewhere, MCG has formed a non-profit affiliate to source international project financing. By providing solutions that improve the lives of indigenous people and acting as part of a global consortium, MCG is made privy to superior, "for profit" investment opportunities for its portfolio and its qualified investors.

MCG maintains relations with hundreds of privately funded investment organizations, including venture capital firms, insurance companies, Timber Investment Management Organizations, pension funds, commercial banks, hedge funds and private equity groups in sourcing project finance for international projects.

The private sector is invaluable in providing MCG access to risk based capital for projects that require a high degree of speculation or that involve factors that preclude public sector commitment. Often times, private sector capital is combined with publicly available grants to improve structured investment returns. MCG often prefers to access funds provided by the private sector to match short term investment requirements in the form of bridge loans.

Private sector participation is an essential element of any poverty reduction strategy as it can reduce the costs of outputs dramatically and enhance the ability of the poor to access essential resources such as water. Despite these benefits, private sector participation is not something that can happen in isolation. It can only arise by creating an effective partnership between the public and private sectors. Private sector investment cannot occur in the absence of an effective macroeconomic, regulatory, contractual, and institutional enabling environment.

When developing private sector participation strategies, it is important to recognize that different governments have different policy objectives: the macro environment can vary significantly across countries, effective regulations and institutions may be absent, competition may not be present, public sector funding may be constrained, capital markets may not be developed, and the risk return preferences of the public and private sectors may vary significantly.

As a result, private sector participation can be, and is, implemented in a wide range of forms within a sector over time, often in association with some form of public sector support. The evaluation of the pros and cons of the various forms of interaction between the public and private sectors requires detailed analysis to clearly identify an option that suits the particular situation, and can involve significant resources in the short term to implement the preferred structure.

The Asia Pacific region is home to two thirds of the world's poor. Catalyzing private capital in the region is an important way to tackle the problem. Our private sector development strategy articulates our support for the private sector and the importance of partnership with the public sector. Our strategy focuses on nurturing an enabling environment for private sector and supporting private sector investment activity through funds and risk mitigation instruments. MCG is committed to working with its client countries and the private sector to support creative public-private partnerships that alleviate poverty.

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MCG works in close association with the public sector in securing long term financing for infrastructure development in emerging growth nations. As opposed to private sector financing, funding agencies within the public sector are mandated to consider funding projects that directly improve the economic, social and health conditions of indigenous people, regardless of the return on investment. The US government contributes billions of dollars every year in pursuit of improving conditions for emerging growth nations around the globe.

Specific funds have been created to target humanitarian investment objectives in the South Pacific. MCG works closely with these organizations to evaluate and secure financing. Often times we are able to secure public sector financing to secure a non-profit project that provides enough economic stimulus to raise private sector funds to increase the scope of investment in a given host country. MCG provides a unique service in the international development arena with its comprehensive project development process that enables host-country clients to oversee their own project initiatives and bring them to successful completion in the least amount of time, with the greatest long-term sustainability of benefits.

MCG's mission is to provide its clients with professional service strategies of the very highest standards, individually and specifically developed for the local cultural, social and natural environments. MCG does this by researching and implementing diverse technical and commercial approaches to the design of project solutions appropriate to regional needs, while complying with all international funding criteria.

MCG developed projects focus on a wide range of national priorities, including humanitarian needs, infrastructure reconstruction and improvement, environmental protection, sustainable resource management, and high priority economic development. These priorities are addressed in an integrated framework, often involving several simultaneously.

Through this proprietary client-centered process, MCG represents its host-country clients as its exclusive agent in coordinating its interests with all relevant institutions, organizations, and businesses throughout the project development process. MCG provides a direct liaison between the client and funding agencies, private investment and enterprise funds, and participating US export businesses.

MCG facilitates and coordinates a wide array of specialized expertise focusing on technical assistance in all aspects of the proposed strategy articulation. This allows MCG to identify and implement diverse technical and commercial approaches, enabling it to design project solutions that are simultaneously appropriate to regional needs, while complying with all international funding criteria.

The technical assistance provided includes: needs assessment, funding viability, program development and implementation, alternative and appropriate technology review, resource and product identification and procurement, commercialization, marketing, and both specialized training and joint venture creation to ensure complete technology transfer for long-term project viability and sustainability.

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Management recognizes that investors in emerging growth nations require either compensation for country risk or reduction of country risk through insurance vehicles. MCG will consider country insurance for investors who require the additional protection in order to commit funds. Further insurance is being considered for North American and Australian investors through OPIC and EFIC, respectively.

Although current political and economic conditions are stable throughout most emerging growth nations, the region does not afford investors the same level of confidence that is available when investing in established international and domestic markets. For this reason, MCG requires investors to perform due diligence on its investments utilizing third-party project risk evaluation consulting firms.

MCG performs extensive due diligence in evaluating and sponsoring its prospective infrastructure projects prior to investment solicitation. We conduct extensive research with government officials, land and resource owners, public works administration, import/export and tax authorities. Offering memorandums and financial analysis are created to address all facets of the investment opportunity.

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