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Cohen moves to equity role as Lloyds infra fund closes

The former global head of Lloyds’ project finance team (pictured) has become the chief executive of the bank’s infrastructure funds platform, which has recently closed a greenfield European infrastructure fund. WestLB’s Chris Heathcote is now Lloyds’ new global head of project finance.

Lloyds Banking Group’s Gershon Cohen has stepped down from his role as global head of project finance at the UK bank to become the chief executive of Lloyds' infrastructure funds management platform, which has recently closed Lloyds Bank European Infrastructure Partners (LBEIP) – an unlisted infrastructure fund focusing on greenfield investments across continental Europe.

As chief executive of the infrastructure funds management platform, Cohen will also retain responsibility for the existing £434 million (€522 million; $686 million) Bank of Scotland Infrastructure Partners LP, a secondary infrastructure fund launched in 2008.

Cohen joins Sameer Amin – Lloyds’ head of equity, project finance – as fund principal at LBEIP, following the fund’s recent final close. In a statement, Lloyds said “it has successfully achieved a first and final closing in respect of raising its latest infrastructure fund”. It added that LBEIP “has raised substantial commitments from major European financial institutions,” but declined to pinpoint who those institutions were or how much the fund has actually raised.

Sources familiar with the fundraising say LBEIP has raised hundreds of millions of Euros. They added that while new fundraising has closed, LBEIP is continuing to have further discussions with some of its investors.

Cohen – who had been heading Lloyds’ global project finance unit for the last three years and was the head of project finance at HBOS, acquired by Lloyds following the 2008 crisis, for the three years before that – will be replaced by Chris Heathcote, of German bank WestLB.  Heathcote is leaving his role as global head of infrastructure finance at WestLB to replace Cohen.

LBEIP is not Lloyds’ first infrastructure fund – the bank already has a vehicle investing in projects that form part of the UK’s Project Finance Initiative, the government’s standardised procurement process for public-private partnerships – but it is the first primary infrastructure fund and will focus solely on continental Europe.

In its statement, Lloyds indicated that LBEIP is expected to target investments “exclusively in continental Europe” and will look for “greenfield projects that are underpinned by secure, long-term government contracts including public-private partnerships characterised by predominantly availability-based, stable and partially inflation-linked revenues”.

Lloyds is 41 percent owned by the UK government.