OP&F backs US-focused Axium fund with $125m

The commitment to the Montreal-based firm will give the US pension fund exposure to energy, transportation and social infrastructure assets.

Montreal-based fund manager Axium Infrastructure received a $125 million commitment to its US-focused vehicle from the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund.

OP&F is expanding its $283 million real assets portfolio with the commitment to Axium Infrastructure US Fund, which the firm will use to invest in energy, transportation and social infrastructure assets, according to a spokesman for the $15.2 billion pension. Before the commitment to Axium, OP&F’s real assets portfolio made up 1.8 percent of the pension’s total fund, which is below its long-term 8 percent target allocation.

OP&F also announced $50 million commitments to a real estate strategy managed by Courtland Partners and a private credit strategy managed by ArrowMark Partners.

Axium’s US-focused strategy is part of a broader North American infrastructure fund the firm is raising. Investors have the option to commit capital to a sleeve of the North American fund that focuses on US or Canadian assets only, or to the general fund.

The firm managed C$2.9 billion ($2.21 billion; €1.94 billion) in assets and C$1.2 billion in co-investments as of 31 March, but it has announced several deals in the power sector since then.

In April, Axium partnered with French power company ENGIE to acquire a 99MW microgrid and district energy system that serves six medical institutions in Boston. The next month, Axium fully acquired a 286MW natural gas facility in New York City.

In June, Axium formed another partnership, this time with Canadian insurance giant Manulife Financial Corporation, to buy a 35 percent stake in a portfolio of hydroelectric plants in British Columbia.

Axium is also known for agreeing to a $1 billion public-private partnership last year, alongside ENGIE, to operate and improve the efficiency of Ohio State University’s utility system.

The firm started as a partnership with Fiera Capital Corporation, which is also based in Montreal. In 2015, Fiera sold its 35 percent stake to Axium, citing limitations of investing in US infrastructure due to shares of Fiera owned by the National Bank of Canada and Fédération des caisses Desjardins du Québec.