Fiera Axium targets second close by year end

The Canada-focused infrastructure fund expects to have up to C$300m in commitments by year’s end. A final close is being targeted next year on C$500m.

Fiera Axium Infrastructure, the Canada-focused infrastructure fund headed by former SNC Lavalin, Babcock & Brown and Macquarie professionals, is targeting a second close on C$300 million (€234 million; $289 million) by the end of the year, according to a senior fund executive.

Bruno Candes, vice president and senior investment director at the firm, said Canada has a “huge and very deep institutional market that wants to get exposure to infrastructure”. 

But not every pension in Canada has the resources of the very largest players, like the C$48 billion Ontario Municipal Employees’ Retirement System, which has been investing directly in infrastructure through a dedicated team for over ten years.

So Candes and his team, which came together in January 2009, have created a fund they hope will give other pensions a route to access Canada’s infrastructure market. That market features several state-level organizations, such as British Columbia’s Partnerships BC, which facilitate private investment in infrastructure. The Federal government has also created its own public-private partnership body, PPP Canada, to identify federal PPP project candidates.

“On the [right] hand, I have this big pool of institutional money that wants to invest in infrastructure,” Candes said, “and on the left hand we have this dealflow.

“There isn’t a market of [fund] managers who are connecting the two,” he added.

Fiera hopes to collect C$500 million in total for its fund, Candes said, and final close is targeted next year. A first close on C$175 million was held in February and the firm inked its first deal, a 60 percent equity stake in a hospital research center modernization project in Montreal.

Besides social infrastructure projects like the research centre investment, the fund will also invest in transportation infrastructure and energy infrastructure.

The firm is headed by Pierre Anctil, former president of SNC Lavalin, the Montreal-based engineering and consulting firm.

Other professionals at the fund include ex-Babcock vice president Juan Caceres and ex-Macquarie vice president Frédéric Brassard.