APG, Argo and CalSTRS in $500m energy tie-up

Argo Infrastructure Partners, led by ex-JPMorgan infra CIO Jason Zibarras, is managing the new platform, targeting large institutional investors.

Argo Infrastructure Partners (AIP) has secured commitments of over $500 million from Dutch pension manager APG, Californian teachers' pension fund CalSTRS, and investment office Crow Holdings to launch its new North American energy infrastructure platform. 

AIP, led by Jason Zibarras, the former chief investment officer of JP Morgan's Global Infrastructure Investments Fund, says it “has developed a new infrastructure partnership model, specifically designed in conjunction with and to meet the needs of large institutional investors”. 

It said in a statement that CalSTRS was one of the institutional investors that had contributed to the first close, adding it had also received a strategic investment from Crow Holdings, a Dallas-based investment office controlled by descendants of real estate magnate Trammell Crow. A spokesman for CalSTRS said the pension is investing $250 million in the platform. It is thought that APG is matching that amount, but a spokesman for the Dutch pension manager did not wish to comment.

The investment manager said the new energy platform will focus on low-risk energy infrastructure investments in the US and Canada, including midstream, utilities and contracted power assets. A source familiar with the platform's plans added low-carbon energy investments will also be targeted. 

Both APG and CalSTRS are committed to escalating their investments in low carbon energy. Recently, the Dutch pension manager said it had changed its mind about the risk profile of offshore wind and might clinch a first investment in a Dutch project later this year. APG, which already invests in over 100 onshore wind farms across the world, as well as solar and waste-to-energy wants to double its renewable investments from €1 billion to €2 billion over the next three years. 

CalSTRS for its part stated late last year that it was ready to increase its clean energy and cleantech investments from $1.4 billion to $3.7 billion by 2019. The pension has already started making good on that promise, tripling its green bond investments over the last 12 months to June 2014. Its green investments via its Inflation Sensitive asset class, which include infrastructure equity investments in wind and solar projects, rose in valuation to $253 million compared to $52 million in 2013.

This article was first published on Low Carbon Energy Investor.