Blackstone launches global water initiative

The firm has partnered with former IFC execs to create Global Water Development Partners, a company that will focus on investment and development in the water sector.

Blackstone Energy Partners, an energy-focused private equity fund managed by Blackstone, has teamed up with a former International Finance Corporation (IFC) management team to launch Global Water Development Partners, the New York-based alternative assets giant said in a statement.

The new company, which is owned by funds managed by Blackstone, will focus on addressing key water sector issues such as scarcity and access around the world.

It will do so by providing needed capital to companies looking to create long-term and sustainable water facilities focused on the development of desalination facilities and large-scale waste water treatment for industrial customers.

It will also support companies in identifying, developing, financing, constructing and operating large-scale independent water development projects globally, according to the statement.

Usha Rao Monari, former global head of IFC’s Water and Wastewater Group, will serve as the new company’s chief executive, while former IFC chief executive Lars Thunell will serve as chairman.

Rao Monari has extensive experience in the water sector, having most recently served as director of the IFC’s Sustainable Business Advisory Group. As global head of the organisation’s Water and Wastewater Group, she was responsible for creating the IFC’s water investment strategy.

Rao Monari was also instrumental in founding and establishing the 2030 Water Resources Group, a public-private partnership platform, which works with national governments to facilitate investments in the water sector, according to the statement.

Thunell, who has more than 30 years of management experience, most recently served as chief executive and executive vice president of the IFC. During his tenure, the IFC tripled its annual financing of infrastructure, healthcare and energy projects from $6 billion to over $20 billion, the majority of which was in emerging markets.

New York-listed Blackstone is a global investment and advisory firm. Its asset management businesses include investment vehicles focused on private equity, real estate, hedge fund solutions, non-investment grade credit and secondary funds.

As of December 31, 2013, Blackstone had $266 billion in assets under management.

IFC is the financing arm of the World Bank.