Macquarie raises €7.4bn

Macquarie has raised the stakes on rival infrastructure investors with the closing of two new funds dedicated to buying assets across Europe and North America.

The Australian investment bank has raised more than US$10bn (€7.37bn) for its Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund II (MEIF II) and Macquarie Infrastructure Partners (MIP) vehicles, just four months after global investment bank Goldman Sachs closed the US$6.5bn (€4.8bn) GS Infrastructure Partners, its first fund dedicated to the global infrastructure investment market.

MEIF II has commitments of US$6.3bn (€4.6bn) from unnamed pension funds and institutional investors around the world. Macquarie did say, however, that a number of investors in its predecessor fund, the significantly smaller US$3bn (€2.2bn) MEIF raised in April 2004, reupped for the second vehicle. New investors included UK pension funds.

“Investors recognise Macquarie’s outstanding track record in acquiring and managing high quality infrastructure businesses for the long-term, to provide stable and predictable returns,” said Arthur Rakowski, chief executive of MEIF II. “Macquarie manages more than US$44bn in equity across a portfolio of over 100 businesses worldwide. We have achieved a return to investors of 20.2 percent pa over 10 years.”

The fund will invest in a portfolio of eight to fifteen infrastructure assets such as ports, airports, toll roads and gas, water and electrical utilities across the European Union.

MIP closed with commitments of US$4bn and will follow a similar strategy to its European counterpart in North America.

Approximately US$4.5bn (€3.3bn), or 44 percent of total funds raised, have already been invested. Of that, MEIF II has invested US$3bn (€2.2bn) in Thames Water, bought in an £8bn (€11.75bn) transaction last October; UK offstreet car parking company NCP, sold by 3i for £790m (€1.6bn) in March; Arqiva and National Grid Wireless, providers of television and radio transmission services to broadcasters in the UK, and public safety communications services business Airwave, both in £2bn (€2.9bn) deals in April.

MEIF I is fully invested in nine assets including Wales & West Utilities and Wightlink Shipping in the UK; Autoroutes Paris-Rhin-Rhon in France; Brussels Airport; NRE in the Netherlands; and Arlanda Express in Sweden.

Guy Hands’ Terra Firma Capital Partners has been a frequent competitor for Macquarie for infrastructure assets, including US aircraft leasing business AWAS, Thames Water and Compass Group’s motorway services subsidiary Moto. Macquarie was successful in the latter two auctions.

JP Morgan and Carlyle are both understood to be in the market with US$1bn targets for infrastructure in the race to find stable, long-term returns. 3i has also established an infrastructure team but is expected to pursue smaller targets than Macquarie.

Robert Venes