II 50 countdown: 29-20

The third 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 19-11

Firms 10-6

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 29-20.

29 – Sunvision Capital

HQ: China
2017 position: 47

Sunvision Capital, a Shanghai-based PPP-focused fund manager, has no shortage of projects to build a pipeline around as the firm seeks to capitalise on China’s five-year growth plan. In 2016, Sunvision established its Jinan Urban Development Fund, which has raised 4.6 billion yuan ($663.7 million; €578.1 million). Since creating the Sunvision Public-Private Partnership Fund in 2014, the firm has raised 6 billion yuan (856.7 million; €754.1 million).

28 – Dalmore Capital

2017 position: 27

UK firm Dalmore Capital is fresh off its most successful fundraising yet and full of momentum. The fund, Dalmore Capital 3, closed on £950 million ($1.24 billion; €1.08 billion) and is already over half deployed, including in UK assets like the M25 motorway and the Anglian Water Group.

Dalmore has steadily built a reputation as a reliable European-focused infrastructure manager, closing its inaugural fund in 2012 on £248.6 million. It has also raised funds in recent years, including the £500 million PIP Dalmore Fund, part of the Pensions Infrastructure Platform initiative, and the £440 million Dalmore Infrastructure Investment vehicle.

27 – LS Power Group

2017 position: 35

No surprise here that North American firm LS Power Group took a definite jump in the ranking this year. Market watchers should have seen this coming after the firm closed its fourth fund – LS Power Equity Partners IV – in May on $2.25 billion. In eight months of fundraising, LS Power surpassed its $2 billion target, and the total amount raised for Fund III, which was $2.06 billion.

Staying true to its strategy, the firm is planning to focus investments on the North American energy sector. LS Power’s strategy has so far been paying off, with net internal rate of returns for its three previous funds at 12.9 percent, 11.7 percent and 13 percent, respectively.

26 – Actis

2017 position: 23

If these rankings were stocks, Actis might be one to watch closely. While the emerging-markets specialist fell three spots, a few factors indicate it may be on the rise again soon.

As capital floods the OECD markets, more investors are warming up to emerging-markets exposure. Who better to turn to than the firm who only invests in these parts of the world – and has done so for many years? That their energy fundraises continue to gain in size, with Actis Energy 4 closing last year on $2.75 billion, shows they’re winning over investors’ confidence. The firm is also demonstrating it’s willing to expand its offering, launching its first infrastructure fund, targeting $2 billion, this year. The firm was last reported to be expecting a $700 million first close.

25 – InfraRed Capital Partners

2017 position: 18

A lull in private fundraising caught up with InfraRed Capital Partners this year, as the UK firm dropped seven spots in the ranking since 2017. The last fund the firm raised – InfraRed Yield Fund – closed in 2012 on £489 million. Before that, it was the flagship vehicle InfraRed Infrastructure Fund III closing on $1.22 billion in 2010.

Don’t think InfraRed has been in full-on quiet mode, though. The firm has been actively working from its listed equity vehicle The Renewables Infrastructure Group. Since 2013, InfraRed has raised £1.05 billion in public infrastructure equity commitments. Its latest vehicle, InfraRed Infrastructure V, is also still in fundraising and has reportedly collected at least $1 billion.

24 – Blackstone

2017 position: Same

One of the highest-profile additions to the II 50 this year, Blackstone’s $5 billion summer first close for its debut infrastructure fund – Blackstone Infrastructure Partners – has propelled the US giant straight into number 24. Targeting a whopping $40 billion and net returns of 10 percent, the debut open-ended fund garnered a record-breaking $20 billion commitment from Saudi Arabia’s PIF. The fund will make investments of around $1 billion each, mostly in operating North American infrastructure, including energy, transportation, water and waste, and communications.

23 – F2i

HQ: Italy
2017 position: Same

For Italian infrastructure manager F2i, an end-of-year final close for its third fund in 2017 likely made the difference for a 23rd place ranking in 2018. F2i has made a living collecting commitments from the Italian institutional market, but also raised €1.4 billion from international investors for its latest vehicle, which at the time of writing look set to close on €3.6 billion.

The firm’s strategy offers a broad exposure to infrastructure, focusing on sectors including transportation, energy, renewables, telecoms, utilities and social, unrivalled in its access to the difficult-to-penetrate Italian market. Investors are apparently liking what they’re getting, providing €1.74 billion in reup commitments. That eclipses the total amount F2i raised for its second fund, which closed on €1.24 billion.

 22 – The Carlyle Group

2017 position: 39

Private equity powerhouse The Carlyle Group has leapfrogged in the rankings, from near the bottom last year to middle-of-the-pack infrastructure fundraiser in 2018. Led by a suite of power and energy funds, Carlyle has sought to establish itself as one of North America’s go-to infrastructure managers.

One of the firm’s largest vehicles so far, Power Partners II, held its close in 2014 on $1.53 billion. Since then, the firm has raised a handful of smaller co-investment vehicles worth hundreds of millions of dollars each. Carlyle is also still in the midst of raising its flagship vehicle, the $2.5 billion Global Infrastructure Opportunities Fund, which was last reported to have collected $600 million.

21 – Hermes Investment Management

2017 position: 20

While Hermes has yet to reach final close on its latest infrastructure offering – it’s targeting a total of £1 billion and a hard-cap of £2 billion for Hermes Infrastructure Fund II – it has already made its first investment through the vehicle. In March, it acquired a 14.9 percent stake in Danish ferry operator Scandlines. The fund, which will primarily invest in the UK, targets returns of between 6 and 14 percent, depending on the strategy committed to by LPs, be it core, value-added or “standard mix”.

20 – Partners Group

HQ: Switzerland
2017 position: 19

After collecting €2.2 billion for its Direct Infrastructure 2016 fund in February, alongside a further €800 million for separate accounts and other infrastructure vehicles, the Swiss group has lost no time being active on the deal front. That’s particularly noteworthy on the renewables front, where it’s been keeping busy, particularly in Australia. Aside from that, the Swiss firm has also been bolstering its talent pool, hiring former chief executive of transportation-focused United Bridge Partners, Ed Diffendal, and former senior vice-president of the gas pipeline and storage business of ONEOK Corporation, Phill May. Both will be based in the US.