First State hires infra co-head for new Paris office

Philippe Taillardat will join Danny Latham in co-heading First State’s European infrastructure unit. He will be based in Paris, in the firm’s first office in continental Europe. First State has raised almost €600m for its European infrastructure fund.

First State Investments has hired Philippe Taillardat to co-head its European infrastructure team as the firm opens a new office in Paris – its first office in continental Europe – where Taillardat will be based, First State announced in a statement.

Taillardat will run the Infrastructure Investment Management Europe business alongside Danny Latham, and will work closely with Niall Mills, First State’s head of infrastructure asset management, and Marcus Ayre, head of infrastructure transactions. He will report to Christine O’Reilly and Perry Clausen, First State’s global co-heads of the global unlisted infrastructure team.

The European infrastructure unit’s new co-head brings 20 years of experience in infrastructure and project finance, with a focus on the energy sector, First State said. Prior to joining the firm, Taillardat had been running his own consultancy business since last December, focusing on investment solutions in the unlisted infrastructure sector.

He had previously worked at Amundi Private Equity Funds, where he developed unlisted infrastructure funds of funds for institutional investors. Taillardat also worked at Calyon Corporate & Investment Bank, Winterthur and BNP Paribas, where he started his career in the bank’s project finance division.

The announcement comes as First State nears €600 million in capital raised for its European Diversified Infrastructure Fund. First State’s European vehicle has been in the market since 2007. It held a first close on €183 million in August 2009 and a second, €366 million close in June 2010.

Since then, however, the fund has changed its structure from an open-ended investment vehicle – meaning that the fund had no defined term and had the capacity to add on additional investors throughout its life – to a “hybrid” structure. The latter was created by First State earlier this year and will see the vehicle start with a 15-year life and give investors the opportunity to extend its life in five-year blocks.

Sources familiar with the fundraising indicated the fundraising has experienced “great success due to the changes to the fund structure”.