Peter Johnston, an infrastructure veteran with over 20 years’ experience at Hastings Funds Management, Macquarie Funds Group and IFM Investors, has joined Melbourne-based fund manager Lighthouse Infrastructure Management.
Johnston joins founder Mitch King as managing director and will be responsible for developing new funds and originating and managing infrastructure assets. He will also help King run the business. Johnston was most recently at Hastings, where he spent close to five years as an executive director. Prior to that, he spent almost nine years at Macquarie and had a close to three-year stint at IFM.
“Peter’s skills and relationships built over two decades of infrastructure funds management will strengthen Lighthouse’s funds management team,” King said in a statement, crediting Johnston with raising over $10 billion from investors throughout his career.
The hire comes as the sustainable manager prepares to reach a A$50 million ($38 million; €34 million) first close for its A$100 million solar fund, which is seeking to build a 100MW portfolio. King previously told Infrastructure Investor that he plans to raise the fund over “two investment offer periods”, implying the second close would likely be final.
The yield-focused vehicle will pursue a pipeline of opportunities the firm has identified in Australia that includes both existing assets and projects under development.
King pointed out that the Australian solar industry is at a stage that resembles the early years of infrastructure investment in the country. “Thanks to the technology advancement and declining cost of construction, the solar industry has been fast growing in the past five years,” said King. “We can expect solar power to dominate the renewable energy sector in the next two decades.”
King said the fund will provide investors with access to the emerging A$2 billion-per-annum Australian solar market.
“Investors in the fund are expected to earn commercial returns on offer in the solar market and benefit from the future growth of the industry and subsequent portfolio re-rating as the market matures.”
Established in 2007, Lighthouse focuses exclusively on infrastructure and alternative assets. Since inception, the firm has been involved in over A$2 billion worth of transport, social and renewable infrastructure transactions.