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Blackstone eyes emerging markets LPs

Asia, the Middle East and Europe are set to increase their alternative asset appetites, according to Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman.

The Blackstone Group expects dominance of its limited partner base to shift away from North American LPs and toward investors in Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

“Other markets are going to be increasing their percentage [of allocations] to alternatives and at a faster rate because they’re under-allocated at the moment,” chief executive Stephen Schwarzman said during the firm's third quarter earnings call Friday. “I think there’s a lot of opportunities for us to penetrate better in Asia, Latin America and Europe.”

There’s a lot of opportunities for us to penetrate better in Asia, Latin America and Europe.

Stephen Schwarzman

He added that the firm has been increasing discussions with potential investors about its debut infrastructure fund, which is targeting between $2 billion and $3 billion, and its cleantech fund, which is targeting $500 million.

“There’s more meetings, more discussions, more people want to know what’s going on in both of those areas,” he said.

Blackstone is also currently raising its sixth global buyout fund, which initially launched in 2008 with a $20 billion target. That target has since been reduced to between $10 billion and $15 billion.

So far, Fund VI has attracted commitments from North American LPs including the Alaska Permanent Fund, the California Public Employees' Retirement System, the California State Teachers' Retirement System, Alberta Investment Management Company, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, the Illinois State Retirement Board and the Illinois State Teachers' Retirement System. Taiwan's Cathay Life Insurance also committed to the fund, which had raised about $8 billion by the end of February 2009.