Exclusive: Ardian plans fourth infra fund

The Paris-based asset manager has started talks with investors about a fourth fund, with fundraising expected to continue through next year.

Paris-based fund manager Ardian has started talks with investors about raising its fourth infrastructure fund with a rumored target size of €2 billion, Infrastructure Investor has learned.

Ardian declined to comment on the fundraising which is expected to continue through next year.

Ardian currently has $50 billion in assets under management, of which $5 billion is dedicated to infrastructure through three prior funds. It has three other platforms in direct private equity, funds of funds and private debt.

Its three prior infrastructure funds were able to deliver a 7 percent annual current yield, helping to attract pension funds and insurance companies that were frustrated with 1 percent to 2 percent returns from their traditional investments in sovereign bonds and US Treasuries.

Limited partners (LPs) may also be drawn to the fourth fund by the promise of co-investment opportunities, which they are desperately looking for these days.

Co-investment can reduce management fees for LPs while allowing them to have their say in capital allocation. 

Ardian closed its third infrastructure fund in March 2013 with €1.45 billion in fund commitments plus a further €300 million in co-investments. The fundraising took the firm's infrastructure assets under management to more than €3 billion.

Ardian's infrastructure investments include the likes of French parking firm Vinci Park, the UK's London Luton Airport, and Luxembourg-based utility Enovos.

The infrastructure team is headed by Mathias Burghardt, who joined the firm in 2007 having previously set up and headed the infrastructure investment business at AXA Group. Last year, Ardian hired Juan Angoitia as a managing director from Citi Infrastructure Investors.