ADIA to grow infra team

The $773bn sovereign wealth fund, which appointed a new chief to the unit last year, aims to invest up to 5% of total assets in infrastructure.

Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) is to further build its in-house capabilities to invest in infrastructure, it said upon releasing its annual report yesterday.

The United Arab Emirates-based sovereign wealth fund, which according to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute manages about $773 billion of assets, wants to continue broadening the range of products it can access by adding to the headcount of its recently revamped infrastructure unit.

“Our plan in 2014 will be to selectively grow the size of the team to support our growing portfolio and our evolving strategy,” the report said.

ADIA appointed RREEF Infrastructure veteran John McCarthy to head its infrastructure unit in May last year, as part of what the institution describes as a comprehensive review of its investment strategy and organisational structure. McCarthy had been at the helm of Deutsche Bank’s infra platform since 2005.

“We have built out our investment teams in the illiquid space, such as real estate, infrastructure and, more recently, private equity, adding considerable expertise across geographies and asset specialisation,” said Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, managing director of ADIA.

ADIA, which started investing in infrastructure in 2007, has a target allocation of between 1 percent and 5 percent to the asset class.

One of its subsidiaries was part of the IFM Investors-led consortium that bought Australia’s Port Botany and Port Kembla for A$5.07 billion (€3.51 billion; $4.80 billion) in April last year. It also sold down its 5.3 percent stake in Sydney Airport on the Australian Stock Exchange as part of an effort to rebalance its portfolio in August.

Other assets held in the fund’s portfolio include London’s Gatwick Airport, Thames Water, the UK’s largest water and wastewater utility, and Norwegian gas distribution network Gassled.