3i infrastructure co-head departs

Ben Loomes has left 3i after nearly five years at the London-listed firm, with Phil White now solely in charge of the infrastructure business.

One member of the duo formerly responsible for leading 3i’s infrastructure unit has left the company, Infrastructure Investor has learnt.

Ben Loomes departed the London-listed firm in early January, according to a short statement posted on 3i’s website. Phil White, formerly co-head, is now assuming sole leadership of the company’s infrastructure franchise.

3i declined to comment on the reasons behind his departure, plans for his potential replacement and his likely next move. Loomes could not be reached for comment before press time.

Prior to his role at the firm, Loomes was an executive director at Morgan Stanley, in charge of UK business services coverage for about a year. He was previously a principal at Greenhill Cogent for eight years within the company’s European M&A, restructuring and financing advisory team. He started his career at Goldman Sachs as an analyst.

In an in-depth interview alongside White last autumn, Loomes had explained that the idea of having two heads was a popular one at 3i, with duos also in charge of running the firm’s private equity and debt management businesses. He characterised his role as being closer to that of strategy chief, responsible for originating deals and growing the business, with White more focused on asset management.

Loomes co-presided over an era that saw 3i Infrastructure focus on the mid-market and shift away from classic core assets towards the core-plus end of the market. Heightened competitive pressure also led the firm to broaden its return target to an 8 to 10 percent range, rather than solely aiming for the top end of that bracket.

Under his tenure, 3i acquired Barclay’s PPP- and PFI-focused fund management business, in a bid to add operational projects at the lower end of the risk spectrum that did not fit with the listed vehicle’s mandate.

But 3i Infrastructure’s most noted moves have been at the other end of the scale, with the firm backing assets that a number of pure-play private equity firms have also coveted, such as TCR, a Brussels-based company that leases airport equipment, and Valorem, a French wind developer and power producer.

The firm has ventured into telecoms, acquiring a 36 percent stake in UK mobile tower business Wireless Infrastructure Group last year. In December, it also purchased 296MW of landfill gas assets from Infinis, then owned by Terra Firma, for £185 million ($231 million; €217 million). Infinis has subsequently been purchased by JPMorgan Asset Management.

In another innovative move, 3i bought a portfolio of assets that same month from London-based EISER Infrastructure, via a newly established £700 million fund backed by Dutch pensions ATP and APG.

3i Infrastructure has now deployed all of the proceeds from its £385 million June capital raise, the firm said earlier this month as part of a quarterly performance update.