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The Advocate/Area hedge funds the lure for West Coast firm

The Advocate/Area hedge funds the lure for West Coast firm

The AdvocateBy Richard Lee
Business Editor

A California firm that provides financial assistance to companies has chosen Westport to locate its first East Coast operation.

Seeking to expand its operations to lucrative Greater New York and Fairfield County, San Francisco-based Business Capital, a provider of commercial turnaround services, has opened an office at 191 Post Road West in Westport.

The goal is to build a stronger East Coast presence, as banks tighten lending standards and firms turn to nontraditional financing, said Chuck Doyle, managing director of the firm.

“We are excited about our eastern expansion, and look forward to increasing our existing East Coast customer base as well as our partnerships with hedge funds, private equity shops and other lending affiliates,” he said. “The timing is perfect for our investment in the Eastern U.S. Demand for our services has never been greater.”

Its services include debt restructuring, asset based lending, asset securitization, capital raising and business turnaround offerings.

The fact that Fairfield County is home to such Fortune 500 companies and international banking institutions as General Electric, Xerox, UBS and the Royal Bank of Scotland, played a part in the selection of Westport, Doyle said. He said Business Capital has seen sales growth and client acquisition grow by 200 percent from last year.

“Being close to Manhattan was a consideration as well as being close to the rest of New England. I like being near the hedge funds,” Doyle said. “Hedge funds are looking to fund deals that banks tend to stay away from. We’re getting money from hedge funds.”

Business Capital, a member of the Turn Around Management Association and Association for Corporate Growth, is subleasing a 2,500-square-foot space from Connecticut Business Centers, which leases the building from owner Paragon Realty Group in Westport.

“We provide furnished and equipped office space,” said Tom Jamison, president of Connecticut Business Centers.

Doyle, who plans to have an eight- to 12-person staff in the next six to 12 months, said he expects to expand the company’s presence on the East Coast.

While the region offers opportunities for Business Capital, the company should be prepared for some stiff competition, said Lance Herman, executive director of the Westport Chamber of Commerce.

“It raises an eyebrow about what their approach is going to be to differentiate themselves,” he said, adding that the company has chosen a prime location along the busiest road in the region.

The office complex, owned by Paragon Realty Group in Westport, houses several financial services, law offices and technology businesses and is located near several other buildings with financial services businesses as tenants.

“That’s the breeding ground for financial services in our area,” Herman said.