Exclusive: DIF raises €1.15bn, nears first Aussie deal

The Dutch firm has closed its fourth vehicle on its revised hard cap after less than six months on the trail.

DIF, the Dutch-based fund manager, has reached a final close on its fourth infrastructure fund on its hard cap of €1.15 billion.

Formally launched in May this year, the vehicle had a target of €1 billion. Its initial hard cap, at €1.1 billion, was subsequently raised to €1.15 billion to meet investor demand. The fund reached its second and final close after holding a first close on €825 million in July 2015.

Wim Blaasse, a managing partner at DIF, told Infrastructure Investor that the vehicle had enjoyed a re-up rate of about 75 percent, with most of the balance coming from new investors. Limited partners in DIF IV largely originated from Europe, with fresh capital also coming from North America and Asia. The vehicle's investor base comprises 50 percent of pension funds and 35 percent of insurance companies, Blaasse said.

DIF raised the fund without a placement agent.

The vehicle will follow a strategy similar to that of DIF III, which reached its final close in March 2013 on its €800 million hard cap. It will target gross IRRs of 14 to 15 percent.

The one novelty about DIF IV is its extended geographical remit, which now includes Australia in addition to European and the US market.

DIF established an Australian presence in June 2015, when it manned its newly launched Sydney office with senior investment director Marko Kremer. It will soon be looking to recruit an additional Aussie-based member to the team, Blaasse said, as a part of an effort to grow its headcount by up to five people.

The firm expects to be closing its first deal Down Under in the coming month, he added.

DIF IV made its maiden investment, in the form of an equity injection in the £4.2 billion (€5.7 billion; $6.4 billion) Thames Tideway Tunnel, at the end of August. It has also been named preferred bidder for about €250 million worth of other investments, roughly split equally between public-private partnerships and energy deals, Blaasse said.

He explained that DIF is currently exploring opportunities to invest in Portugal, a country that has long been within its investment remit but where it has yet to deploy capital, and added that the firm has no immediate plans to invest in Turkey.