From the streets of NYC to the Jungles of Panama
Frank Magliato is a native of NYC and started his career as an environmental engineer working for Stone & Webster and the NY State Power Authority. After several years, he became an entrepreneur and has 35+ years of experience in public and private equity transactions. He founded Saddle River Associates & Co. (SRA) and to date has completed more than $500 million of projects including: the sale of Balance Pet Foods to Delmonte in 2013 in addition to a $150 million real estate development in Panama. SRA is engaged in the Mina Santa Rosa Gold Mine in Panama which begins production in 2018. Frank has handled equity transactions in industries like social media, mining, retail, real estate & telecommunications, He started operations in Panama in 2007
Why Panama in 2007?
Having lived through the Savings & Loans crisis of 1987-88 and the Dot.com bust, our group determined that the subprime crisis was going to have a huge knock-on effect. Many of my friends in the institutions knew is was coming but no one could predict ‘when?’ I heard Panama being described as the “Singapore of the Americas’ and having spent time in Singapore, one of the ‘Pearls’ of the Orient, I traveled to Panama and began my due diligence.
How long was your due diligence and what did you find?
My due diligence took over 2 years-which is not long in getting to understand how a country operates and where the opportunities are. In fact, in Asian countries it can take much longer. I was pleasantly surprised at the similarities Panama has to Singapore. A small country, excellent infrastructure, laws in place to protect investors and retirees, excellent governance and financially sound. The impact of the subprime crisis & global economic meltdown was nominal in Panama. In the years that followed, the trend in Real Estate was building hi-end luxury condos but I found there was an acute shortage of affordable housing for the local middle class. Working with local banks we developed a housing estate to serve this community and meet this need. It was very successful, sold-out quickly and nearly doubled in value in the last few years. Hand-over of the first phase starts this summer. (Altos Del Este)
When did the search for Panama Gold begin?
Panama is very rich in minerals-estimated at over $200 billion and has one of the largest copper mines in the world, however, there have been many false starts in this sector for a variety of reasons. At Veragold, first we acquired the property and then filed to get the concession. Ultimately we presented the whole project to the National Assembly for a vote. It was passed unanimously and we now have a ‘Contrato Ley’ (a law passed approving the project and all the terms for mining) Having formal training and experience as an environmental engineer was a huge asset as environmental issues have always been very important to me and we work closely with the local community, which will bring many much needed jobs. (VeraGold)