Cubico’s head of Brazil to lead new GTIS infra group

The real estate firm plans to make its first infrastructure investment within nine months, targeting assets in Brazil as the country emerges from recession.

Real estate fund manager GTIS is moving into infrastructure and has hired Eduardo Klepacz from Cubico Sustainable Investments to lead the initiative, which will initially target opportunities in Brazil.

Tom Shapiro, the New York-based firm’s president and founder, told Infrastructure Investor GTIS has raised around $2.7 billion in equity capital in Brazil since its launch in 2005 and sees this market as a “tremendous opportunity” and logical place for its infrastructure group to begin. GTIS is planning for its infrastructure platform to become as large as its $4.7 billion real estate group, he added.

“We have a lot of institutional investors who have supported our Brazil real estate business for a long time, so infrastructure, to us, was a natural expansion of that programme that we’ve been investing in,” Shapiro said.

Brazil is experiencing increased demand for transportation, energy and telecommunications assets as it emerges from years of recession. The government has also recently enacted reforms to open up industries to private sector investments.

“There’s increasing demand from the recovery in the economy, driving a need for more infrastructure,” Josh Pristaw, a senior managing director based in GTIS’ New York office, said. “We think the playing field is wide open.”

GTIS plans to invest in mostly greenfield opportunities, especially in the renewables sector, but will also seek transmission and power assets, gas pipelines, data centres and mobile towers. The firm plans to make its first investments within six to nine months but has not decided if it will raise a fund or invest through other structures.

The firm hired Klepacz in part for his experience leading Cubico’s office in Brazil. Cubico is a clean energy platform founded in 2015 by Banco Santander and Canadian pension managers PSP Investments and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. The business has an installed portfolio of solar and wind assets of about 2.5GW across the UK, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Brazil, Mexico and Uruguay.