Exclusive: BNP Paribas eyes year-end debt fund first close

The debut infra vehicle is targeting €700m, which will be deployed across Europe over two years – but it is likely to avoid the UK due to currency risks.

BNP Paribas Asset Management is set to hold a first close before the end of the year on its first infrastructure debt fund, Infrastructure Investor has learned.

The European vehicle is understood to be targeting €700 million from investors and will aim to provide senior-secured lending on a floating rate. Investments are targeted across a range of sub-sectors, including renewables and telecoms in both greenfield and brownfield deals.

It is believed the asset management business of the French banking group is aiming to deploy the fund over a period of two years. It will invest in countries across Europe, although this is unlikely to include the UK due to short-term currency risks.

The firm outlined its intention to launch an infrastructure debt fund earlier this year following the establishment of its private credit investments division. It hired Karen Azoulay as its head of infrastructure debt in April from her position as head of infrastructure at SCOR Investment Partners. BNP also appointed Pauline Fiastre as senior fund manager.

The private credit team, which also includes real estate and SMEs, has been bolstered in the past 12 months with the addition of more than 20 people.