DIF launches Fund III, aims for €600m

The Dutch infrastructure fund manager has re-entered the fundraising market for its third vehicle. The firm’s Fund II, which it is currently investing, closed on €571m in September 2010, beating a €500m target.

DIF, the Schiphol, Netherlands-based European infrastructure fund manager, has “started to approach investors” for its third fund, according to sources close to the fundraising. The fund has a target of €600 million.

In September 2010, DIF closed its second fund on €571 million – beating a €500 million target after 20 months of fundraising. Investors in that fund include the European Investment Bank, Dutch pension APG, Swiss alternative asset manager Partners Group and Dutch life insurer Achmea. (See Infrastructure Connect).

DIF’s first fund closed on €121 million in 2006, and it also closed a renewable energy-focused fund on €134 million in 2008.

In a European fund management roundtable staged by Infrastructure Investor* last week, DIF managing partner Wim Blaasse said the fundraising market for funds generally was “challenging”. He added: “Track record is even more of an issue than it’s ever been. You need to show that your portfolio is doing well and yielding cash, like our portfolios. Cash is king.”

DIF invests in public-private partnership (PPP) and Private Finance Initiative (PFI) projects as well as onshore wind and solar energy projects throughout Europe. 

From its Fund II, DIF has invested in the likes of the €200 million Noord Zuid Kempen availability-based road project in Belgium and an 85 percent stake in a French company owning four solar photovoltaic projects currently under construction.

In May this year DIF beefed up its team with four new recruits, bringing its total number of investment professionals in the Netherlands, UK, France and Germany to 28. Speaking at the time, Blaasse put the appointments down to “growth in the portfolio of deals, assets and to strengthen our investing reporting activities”.

*Check out the upcoming December/January issue of Infrastructure Investor for our European Fund Management Roundtable with six leading fund management professionals.