II 50 countdown: 10-6

The fifth in our six-part countdown of the II 50, ranking the infrastructure asset class's top managers.

The II 50 countdown

A closer look at which managers made the cut (and how they got there)

Firms 50-40

Firms 39-30

Firms 29-20

Firms 19-11

Firms 5-1

The II 50 is back, and it’s a more expensive club to join than ever before.

You now need $1.98 billion to get into our ranking – versus $1.34 billion in 2017 – and a whooping $55.53 billion if you’re hoping to unseat Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets from the top spot, a position it’s been forcefully holding on to since 2010.

In fact, to crack into the top five, you need a minimum of $17.7 billion and at least $10.55 billion to feature in the top 10. That compares with a minimum of $13.77 billion to make the top five in 2017 and $7.41 billion for the top 10.

Going back just four years, however, it was a completely different picture, showing how much the asset class has grown in that short time period. In 2014, you could make it into the top 10 with just $4.57 billion; only two firms – GIP and Brookfield, then at numbers two and three, respectively – raised more than $10 billion; and MIRA got to the number one spot with ‘only’ $27.34 billion.

To get the full picture on how times have changed, click here for this year’s II 50 ranking, along with our methodology.

Now, we continue our countdown of the mangers that made the grade 10-6.

10- Energy Capital Partners

Powering on: new fundraising and big deals for ECP

$10.56bn
HQ: US
2017 position: 8

An II 50 fixture, the New Jersey-based firm kicked off 2018 with news of a new fund launch, Energy Capital Partners IV, with a view to raising $6 billion that will primarily be deployed in North America but also opportunistically in the UK. By July, ECP had raised $1.55 billion, an SEC filing shows. From a deal perspective, the US fund manager added two companies to its portfolio. The first was the $5.6 billion acquisition of US-listed power generator Calpine Corporation; the second, a 1.8GW portfolio of primarily gas-fired power plants in the UK, a market the firm said it has been following closely for years as it has undergone market changes, many of which “closely resemble the same trends and investment theses” ECP has adhered to in the US.

9 – Ardian

Burghardt: crossing the Atlantic with great success

$10.65bn
HQ: France
2017 position: 16

The past 18 months have been full of milestones for the Paris-based fund manager, which finds itself jumping ahead seven places on our ranking to land in the Top 10.

After several years of eyeing the North American market, Ardian has set off on the right foot with the successful close of its first Americas-focused fund – Ardian Americas Infrastructure Fund IV – which easily surpassed its modest $500 million target to close on $800 million in May. While the fund manager’s ability to raise capital is not surprising, the number of US LPs that committed to the fund was a bit unexpected.

The close was followed by the opening of a new office in Santiago, which will serve as Ardian’s Latin American hub; the appointment of Ares EIF’s Mark Voccola, to serve as co-head of Ardian Infrastructure US; and the launch of a renewables joint venture with Transatlantic Power Holdings to build a 3GW portfolio of operating and greenfield renewable assets within five years. The focus on the Americas, however, has not detracted from the firm’s European activities. It is reportedly looking to raise €4 billion for its fifth European infrastructure fund.

8 – Colonial First State (known as First State Investments outside Australia)

Exec changes: Colonial First State has had two recent high-profile departures

$11.13bn
HQ: Australia
2017 position: 5

Colonial First State might have slipped three notches, but the Australian asset manager remains in the top 10 and at the heels of I Squared, thanks in part to the €1.4 billion it raised for the second series of its European Diversified Infrastructure Fund II in June, which brought the fund’s total size to €2.1 billion.

The fund manager was busy not only raising capital but also deploying it. In March, it bought Sweden’s largest distribution system operator, E.ON Gas Sverige, and three months later returned to acquire Swedegas, the gas transmission operator Colonial First State had its eye on since 2015.

The firm has also seen changes at the top, with European co-head of infrastructure investments Philippe Taillardat leaving in September 2017 and Mark Lazberger, CFSGAM’s chief executive of 10 years, announcing his resignation this year.

7 – I Squared Capital

Exit time: I Squared sold its first asset from its debut fund

$12.00bn
HQ: US
2017 position: 15

When I Squared Capital made its debut in the II 50 in 2015 it did so with a splash after it had raised the largest ever debut infrastructure fund. Thanks to its sophomore vehicle – ISQ Global Infrastructure Fund II, which closed on $7 billion, doubling the amount raised for Fund I – the New York fund manager finds itself in the top 10 and right behind Stonepeak.

More than 100 institutional investors from around the world led I Squared to beat its initial $5 billion target, with US investors showing a particularly strong appetite for the asset class. As of September, the fund manager had already made four investments through Fund II. In August, I Squared made its first exit from Fund I, selling US-based Lincoln Clean Energy to Danish utility Orsted. Fund I, which is generating a net IRR of 18.2 percent as at March, currently has 14 assets remaining in its portfolio.

6 – Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners

Stonepeak: growing fast

$14.94bn
HQ: US
2017 position: 13

Since its inception in 2011, the New York-based firm has gone from strength to strength, most recently reaching a final close on $7.2 billion for its third infrastructure fund – more than double the size of its sophomore vehicle – to become one of the largest infrastructure fundraisings in 2018.

Stonepeak Infrastructure Fund III was backed by roughly 100 LPs, many of them repeat investors. According to documents posted online in March by the New Mexico Educational Retirement Board, Fund I is generating a 9.8 percent net IRR, and Fund II, which closed in 2016 on $3.5 billion, is generating a 17.5 percent net IRR.

Stonepeak is growing in more ways than one. Shortly after closing on Fund III, it announced the appointment of DJ Gribbin, the former top infrastructure advisor to the Trump administration and former managing director at Macquarie Capital, as a senior operating partner. It is also moving into larger headquarters in New York, having outgrown its 14,000-square-foot Midtown offices, and is opening a new office in Austin, Texas, which will serve as a central hub in the US.