Former Edmond de Rothschild unit launches new ‘smart infra’ fund

Andera, which is seeking up to €200m for the debut fund, has acquired Zaist Capital to lead the vehicle, less than six months after the group’s formation.

Paris-based manager Andera Partners has expanded its offering into the asset class with the hiring of a new team and the launch of a €200 million smart infrastructure fund.

The manager, formerly known as Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners until its spin-out from the group in 2018, has acquired investment manager Zaist Capital Partners to lead the new strategy and raise Andera Smart Infra 1, targeting between €150 million and €200 million.

The strategy will be led by partners Guy Auger and Prune Des Roches. Before founding Zaist Capital in September, Auger was chief executive from 2008 of renewables services provider Greensolver, which was bought out by French renewable energy group Voltalia last February. Des Roches was an investment director at French infrastructure fund manager Demeter Partners before also becoming a founding partner of Zaist Capital.

The new fund will be targeting investments in both clean energy production and storage, mobility assets such as electric vehicle charging and hydrogen, as well as green data centres. Auger said the team’s experience will help bring something unique to such assets.

“We have a mix of financial and operational backgrounds,” he told Infrastructure Investor. “These types of assets require a good knowledge of operational management. Launching a fund like this in 2021, you need returns to come from asset management.”

He added that the fund’s value-add approach intends to bring double-digit returns to investors. It will “combine the high levels of returns from private equity with the security of infrastructure”, Andera said in a statement. France is expected to account for at least half of the vehicle’s investments, while Andera will also be looking at opportunities in Southern Europe in Spain, Portugal and Italy.

“It’s both a top-down and bottom-up approach,” Augers responded when asked how Andera settled on the fund’s target figure. “Firstly, it’s our first-time fund, but also the market for the type of infrastructure we’re looking at fits within the type of ticket size we’re looking at of between €5 million and €30 million.”

The launch of the infrastructure division is Andera’s fifth business line, with about €2.5 billion having been invested in other strategies such as midcap private equity and life sciences.