Long before the pay-to-play scandals in present-day New York and New Mexico came a whopper of one more than a decade ago in the state of Connecticut.
Today a firm that took a glancing blow from that scandal is emerging with a new name, HCI Equity Partners; a fresh $200 million fund; and a strategy of buying and selling small but growing industrial products and services companies generating $20 million to $200 million in annual revenue.
The firm has also scored some recent exits. HCI Equity was expecting today to close the sale of its stake in Mistras Group Inc., whose products are used to test the integrity of tanks, pipes, valves and other industrial products. In March the firm sold its stake in Progressive Waste Solutions, which provides waste disposal services to both commercial and residential customers. Both companies are traded on the New York Stock Exchange.
A quick history lesson to demonstrate the challenges the firm overcame: In 1999 the disgraced ex-treasurer of Connecticut, Paul Silvester, pleaded guilty to racketeering charges for accepting payments—or directing payments to others—in return for making state pension-fund commitments to several investment firms. (Sound familiar?)