Wednesday, June 19, 2024

The Pipeline: Infranity’s fourth fund, Partners Group’s new infra head, I Squared flies into Brazil

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Infranity launches fourth senior debt fund

European infrastructure manager Infranity is off to a good start for its fourth senior debt strategy, raising €425 million against a target of €1.5 billion, it said in a statement.

The Article 8 vehicle already has five assets in its sights, worth some €250 million in investments, to be clinched by the year-end, the Generali Investments affiliate pointed out.

“Our transaction pipeline is extremely healthy, particularly in the growth segments of energy transition, green mobility and telecoms, allowing the construction of well diversified portfolios with strong sustainability credentials,” head of investment debt Sacha Kamp stated.

Kamp added: “Higher spreads and a lender-friendly market environment will be supportive of delivering attractive risk/return.”

Fund IV is targeting the same amount as Infranity’s third vintage, though the latter managed to beat its target to close on €1.6 billion last summer. Overall, Paris-based Infranity manages circa €9 billion of assets as at 15 November 2023.

Africa50 eyes $500m for Acceleration Fund

Casablanca–based Africa50’s inaugural vehicle, the Africa50 Infrastructure Acceleration Fund, has received commitments worth $222.5 million at its first close at the end of 2023. The fund’s target is $500 million.

Some 16 African institutional investors, including sovereign wealth funds, pension funds, social security funds, insurance companies, banks as well as the African Development Bank and the International Finance Corporation pitched in, according to a statement.

The 12-year fund aims to “unlock transformative impact, create jobs and accelerate Africa’s green industrial revolution”, it said.

The fund is led by Vincent Le Guennou, previously of Emerging Capital Partners.

Africa50 has funded projects of an aggregated value of more than $5 billion over the past five years and the new fund seems to be the start of a swathe.  Alain Ebobissé, CEO of Africa50 Group, said: “Africa50-IAF is the first of a suite of new investment vehicles and instruments that the Africa50 Group plans to raise as we seek to mobilise further private sector capital from within Africa and globally into African infrastructure.”

Stay tuned, then.

Wpd invest back with fourth fund

Wpd invest, a subsidiary of the German wpd Group, has launched a fourth fund managed by Hauck & Aufhäuser targeting between €250 million and €300 million.

The Green Return Funds 4 will focus on German and French brownfield tariff-based wind, solar and battery storage projects as well as projects under construction. Further investments elsewhere in the eurozone are also possible. The Article 9 fund is targeting 7.5 percent net IRR.

Typically, previous investors were German insurance companies and pension funds. The GP informed The Pipeline that there are existing investors doing their due diligence at the moment and that it is hoped to gradually expand the circle of LPs.

The predecessor fund closed in 2017 and was realised in 2022, wpd invest told The Pipeline. No let-up in the renewables rush, it seems.

The grapevine

“We believe the future in private markets is going to be infrastructure”

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink tells CNBC how he feels about the asset class after his firm’s $12.5 billion purchase of Global Infrastructure Partners.

Who’s hiring

Partners Group names new head of infra

The Swiss private markets firm rang in the New Year by naming Esther Peiner as its head of infrastructure. Peiner, who has been with Partners Group since 2015 serving as managing director and co-head of private infrastructure, Europe, will now oversee its infrastructure business – whose current AUM stands at $22 billion – across Europe, the Americas and APAC. In addition to being named partner, Peiner has also joined the firm’s eight-member global executive team.

She succeeds Juri Jenkner, who as of 1 January has assumed the newly created role of president of Partners Group and will also serve as chair of the firm’s private infrastructure business.

David Daum, who until recently served alongside Peiner as co-head of private infrastructure, Europe, has been promoted to partner and sole head for the asset class in the region. In his new role, he will also co-lead the firm’s private infrastructure investment committee, according to a statement.

With Partners Group having recently launched its latest fund targeting $8 billion, there’ll be little time for celebration from the duo.

Actis’ Aggarwal takes the helm at NIIF

The National Investment and Infrastructure Fund, the platform backed by the Indian government, has appointed former Actis executive Sanjiv Aggarwal to the role of chief executive and managing director.

Aggarwal will join in February, succeeding Rajiv Dhar, who since last May served as interim CEO following the departure of Sujoy Bose, who led NIIF since its inception.

Aggarwal was most recently a partner at Actis, where he was responsible for the firm’s energy investments in Asia, including India. He had been with Actis since 2008.

In a statement, the board thanked Dhar for “his exceptional leadership”, adding that NIIF “made significant strides, launching its first bilateral fund, the India-Japan Fund with the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, collaborating with the US government on a multi-billion dollar green transition fund, and paving the strategy for successor funds.”

According to reports, the NIIF and the US International Development Finance Corporation are considering the launch of a new India-focused clean energy fund, with each of them committing $500 million and raising more capital from other investors. Currently, NIIF manages around $5 billion of equity capital commitments across its four funds.

LP watch

Core comeback?

Last year was not a favourable one for core infrastructure. Macroeconomic factors led to several investors hitting the pause button on commitments to the sector and the $50 billion Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds confirmed at its investment committee meeting last week it was one of them, but is now looking to quite heavily reverse that policy.

“Due to significant re-up activity in 2023, primarily in non-core, 2024 will move more heavily into core, as we postponed on core infrastructure last year,” Denise Stake, CRPTF’s principal investment officer, told the meeting.

She revealed that the scheme will invest $400 million into core infrastructure funds this year, while only one commitment of $100 million will be made into non-core infrastructure this year, with CRPTF having committed to the like of Global Infrastructure Partners V, Stonepeak Infrastructure Fund V and Grain Communications Opportunity Fund IV last year.

With sizeable cheques lined up by CRPTF, will others follow suit and might 2024 herald the return of core infra’s fortunes?

Deals

Debuting in Brazil: I Squared becomes Origo Energia’s largest shareholder (Source: Getty)

I Squared christens Brazil office with first deal

Late 2023 saw I Squared Capital, a Miami-based asset manager, set up its first office in Brazil in São Paulo. The firm has rung in the New Year with its maiden Brazilian deal to boot.

I Squared will invest up to $400 million for a 49 percent stake in Órigo Energia, a distributed energy generation provider in Brazil. It is understood a third of that capital came from the its ISQ Growth Markets Infrastructure Fund, while the majority came from ISQ Global Infrastructure Fund III.

The funds will be used to construct over 2GW of solar generation capacity across 20 states in Brazil. Órigo Energia is Brazil’s largest distributed generation business, owning over 300MW of distributed generation assets.

The deal sees I Squared become Origo’s largest shareholder with a 49 percent stake. It represents a partial exit for Augment Infrastructure, the emerging markets-focused manager, which remains a significant shareholder.

APG, ADIA hit the Trans Java road

After signing a memorandum of understanding in May 2021 to establish Indonesia’s first toll road investment platform, the Netherlands’ largest pension investor APG Asset Management and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority have found its seed assets: the Kanci-Pejagan and Pejagan-Pemalang sections of the Trans Java Toll Road in Indonesia.

According to a statement, the two toll road sections “are proven to reduce travel times between major urban centres and increasing access to key industrial hubs and ports, resulting in a multiplier effect of domestic economic development and job creation”. They have also seen a growth in traffic volume from 13,202 vehicles per day in 2016 to 22,206 vehicles in 2021, “underscoring their role in Indonesia’s infrastructural advancement”.

The investors, who have partnered with sovereign wealth fund Indonesia Investment Authority, did not disclose financial details. They do however plan to invest up to $2.75 billion in Indonesian toll roads through the platform.


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