First State Investments, the Australian fund manager, is aiming to hold a close before Christmas for its European Diversified Infrastructure Fund of up to €700 million.
The fund, which has been in the market since 2007, is currently a few million euros short of €600 million, but hopes to raise somewhere in the mid-€600 million to €700 million range before the year is out. First State’s European fund 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.
First State has recently beefed up its European infrastructure team, opening a new office in Paris – its first in continental Europe – and hiring Philippe Taillardat to co-head its European infrastructure team. Taillardat, who will be based in Paris, will co-head the European infrastructure 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.
Latham, meanwhile, has relocated to Australia for family reasons, although he maintains his role as co-head of the European business. It’s understood that he will focus more on portfolio management whilst Taillardat will be First State’s man on the ground for client services.