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EIG, OMERS hires round off Blackstone infra team

Blackstone has hired two industry veterans to complete the senior management team for its infrastructure group as the firm seeks to raise up to $15 billion of capital this year.

Wallace Henderson, formerly of EIG Global Energy Capital, and Sebastian Sherman, from OMERS Infrastructure, are the last two senior managing directors Blackstone has brought on to help run its nascent infrastructure programme.

Henderson, who was head of midstream investments and an executive committee member at EIG, will lead deal activity in that same sector. Sherman is responsible for utilities, renewables and transportation after leading OMERS Infrastructure’s investments in large-scale portfolio companies in the Americas.

The two are joining a firm that’s known for its private equity and real estate investments, but which announced last June the creation of an infrastructure programme along with a goal to invest $40 billion in the sector. Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has committed up to $20 billion of that in a dollar-matching agreement.

Last week, Blackstone president Tony James said on an earnings call the infrastructure group will raise the $40 billion through an open-ended fund over the next decade. He said the firm will hold a first close in the next few months.

According to public pension documents published in January, Blackstone is seeking to raise $7.5 billion this year – with the Saudi commitment, that takes the amount to $15 billion.

Sean Klimczak, who has worked on energy and power investments for Blackstone since 2005, is global head of the infrastructure programme. The rest of the senior management team includes two Blackstone veterans, Greg Blank and Phillip Solomond, Matthew Runkle, previously at ArcLight Capital Partners, and former General Electric executive Steve Bolze.

Blackstone’s infrastructure fund will invest 70 percent of its equity in US infrastructure, including in core, core-plus and public-private partnerships. The amount of equity being raised means target investments will mostly top $1 billion and deal-level leverage will be in the 50 percent to 60 percent range, according to pension documents.