First State infra chief departs after six years

Philippe Taillardat’s exit comes with the firm about to hit the fundraising trail, seeking about another €700m for EDIF II.

First State’s co-head of infrastructure investments in Europe has left the company just weeks before the manager was to begin fundraising for the second series of its latest European infrastructure fund.

Philippe Taillardat departed to “pursue other opportunities”, according to First State. The firm added that his “responsibilities are being allocated to other team members”.

First State said Taillardat’s exit does not trigger any ‘key man’ provisions and Niall Mills and Marcus Ayre remain co-heads of the unlisted infrastructure business in Europe.

First State was expected to begin fundraising for the second series of its European Diversified Infrastructure Fund II this month. The fund raised €700 million for the first series in April and was targeting an additional €700 million ahead of a total target of about €2 billion.

The UK-based Worcestershire and Swansea county council pension funds have already approved commitments to the vehicle targeting a gross IRR of 8-15 percent, according to the UK’s Hammersmith and Fulham Pension Fund. EDIF I, which raised €2 billion in 2009, had generated a net IRR of 10.4 percent as of September last year.

Taillardat spent just over six years at First State, joining from Amundi where he served as managing director and developed the French company’s infrastructure fund of funds.

“Philippe Taillardat has left First State to pursue other opportunities. He made a valuable contribution during his time with the unlisted infrastructure business, and we thank him for his service,” a spokeswoman for First State said.

“The outlook for First State’s unlisted infrastructure business in Europe and the European Diversified Infrastructure funds is strong. We expect to launch our series two fundraising round for our EDIF II this autumn and are continuing to see strong interest from our existing investors and new clients.”