AP Moller Capital expands into Asia

After establishing itself as a presence in the infra space in Africa and the Middle East, AP Moller Capital is set to focus on the emerging markets of Asia.

Copenhagen-based AP Moller Capital – the asset management arm of transport and logistics company AP Moller Group – has opened an office in Singapore as it forges ahead with plans to invest more than $750 million into infrastructure in Asia’s emerging markets.

Speaking with Infrastructure Investor, AP Moller Capital partner Dhruv Narain, who will be leading the new office and the firm’s investment strategy in Asia, said the decision to focus on the region was a natural step for the firm after establishing itself as a presence in the infrastructure investment space in Africa and the Middle East.

“[The new office was established] to address the opportunity set we see in infrastructure in South and Southeast Asia – massively growing markets across India, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, and a number of other countries around the region, as well as double-digit economic growth, rapid demographic growth and, with that, obviously, the tailwinds for us to invest in infrastructure across each of those markets,” Narain said.

“Being on the ground in Singapore will enable us to do that. We do have boots on the ground in many of those countries and this ties it all in and helps us coordinate that effort.”

While the firm is new to the region in its capacity as an asset manager, it has so far invested roughly $1.5 billion into infrastructure projects in other regions, with a focus on transport and logistics, and decarbonisation. These sectors will continue to be the firm’s primary focus as it explores investment opportunities in Asia.

“The two major areas [for the firm] are transport and logistics – the entire gamut of transport and logistics including ports, airports, supply chain and logistics, warehousing [and so on] – and renewables and decarbonisation, and the whole value chain there. Opportunistically, [we do look at] other areas as well, but those are the main areas where the firm is focused,” Narain explained.

“We are very focused on the transport and logistics space [in Asia]. We just see very rapid growth and large volumes of activity that we can participate in, in that space, in India, in Vietnam, in Indonesia and in the Philippines.”

He declined to comment on the firm’s fundraising plans for Asia, citing regulatory restrictions.

The firm’s Africa Infrastructure Fund, launched in August 2017, reached a $1 billion final close in August 2018.

Narain joined AP Moller Capital in August last year following stints with Macquarie Group, the International Finance Corporation and the Abu Dhabi Investment Council.

The team he leads includes recent hires Michael Burnett, who previously worked with Macquarie and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, and Bei Xu, who formerly worked with Barclays Capital and the China-ASEAN Investment Cooperation Fund. Both Burnett and Xu have joined as investment directors.