Ardian opens Santiago office to drive Latin America strategy

The French fund manager wants greater access to institutional investors in the region as well as closer proximity to investment opportunities.

Ardian has opened a new office in Santiago, Chile that will be the French fund manager’s regional hub as it targets Latin America for growth in investor partnerships and infrastructure opportunities.

Nicolas Gazitua, a senior investor relations manager for Ardian who will lead the new office, told Infrastructure Investor the hub will first be used to manage partnerships with existing investors in Chile, Colombia and Peru and new potential investors in Mexico and Brazil.

According to a statement, the firm’s Latin America investor base “has leveraged a diversified range of strategies, on Ardian’s platform, including private equity secondaries, European direct buy-outs, infrastructure secondaries, European real estate and global co-investments”.

The second step, Gazitua said, will be to hire local professionals in the infrastructure sector, as well as other asset classes Ardian invests in, to help source deals. He said the firm is working with investors in the region that want to diversify their portfolios outside Latin America.

Mark Benedetti, co-head of Ardian USA, added that the Santiago office, its first in Latin America, is “following through with a promise to be near and dear to our investors there to build with them more”.

“We made a commitment to them that this was more than us just raising capital. It was a commitment to being present and developing these partnerships in depth,” he said.

Last month, Ardian closed its debut Americas fund on $800 million and is planning to focus investments primarily in Chile and the US, but also in Mexico and Canada. Americas Infrastructure Fund IV will target natural gas, renewables and transportation assets.

The infrastructure group made its first investment in the region in 2016, paying $31 million for an 81 percent stake in Solarpack, a Spanish developer managing three solar projects in Chile and one in Peru, which have a combined generating capacity of 46MW.

“We expect to do six to seven deals through the Americas fund,” Mathias Burghardt, Ardian’s head of infrastructure, told Infrastructure Investor in a recent interview. “But we always buy assets that have growth potential because the market is quite hot. Unless you do that, it is quite difficult to achieve the returns we want. It’s the only way to go from single- to double-digit returns.”