II 50 countdown: 50-40

The first 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 39-30

Firms 29-20

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 kick-off our countdown with the mangers that round out the ranking, from 50-40.

50 – 3i Group

2018 position: none

3i returns to our ranking, after last being included in 2014. The London-listed asset manager closed its unlisted European Operational Projects Fund on €456 million in April, surpassing its €400 million target. The fund is focused on operational PPPs in Europe, mainly in the transport and social sectors. 3i last year launched a North-American platform, through which it made a first investment in a company that owns airport baggage carts and self-storage lockers.

49 – Basalt Infrastructure Partners

2017 position: none

Basalt Infrastructures Partners, a mid-market investment firm based in London, hit the final close for its second fund at the beginning of the year on $1.25 billion, surpassing its $1 billion target and propelling it into our ranking. Basalt Infrastructure Partners II will focus on investments in energy, utilities and transport assets in Europe, the US and Canada, following a similar strategy to its predecessor.

48 – Northleaf Capital Partners

HQ: Canada
2017 position: 42

Northleaf raised $2.1 billion over the past five years. Its Northleaf Infrastructure Capital Partners II, a $734 million fund, is currently investing in infrastructure assets across the OECD, while its predecessor manages 14 assets. Northleaf’s portfolio includes Australian wind farms, the largest US parking asset and four tolled lanes in Texas. Earlier this year, the firm added Roderick Gadsby, ex-Macquarie and UBS, as managing director of its infrastructure team.

47 – Oaktree Capital Management

2017 position: 38

This year has been somewhat mixed for Oaktree. The Los Angeles-based firm announced it had stopped raising its energy infrastructure fund. The good news is that it did raise $1.1 billion for its transportation vehicle, with a final close expected for early 2019. But, again, not everyone liked that transport focus, with the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund dropping its commitment to the fund manager, citing the company’s new strategy and “senior-level turnover”.

46 – Aviva Investors

2017 position: none

Aviva Investors, the asset management arm of the UK insurance firm, secured a position in this year’s ranking after raising $2.3 billion through to 2018. Aviva made clear that it plans to keep expanding its exposure across the alternative asset classes with the creation of its new Real Assets Division last May. The platform integrates its private debt, infrastructure and real estate interests, valued at $48.2 billion.

45 – China Communications Construction Company

HQ: China
2017 position: 41

State-owned China Communications Construction Company manages one of the largest infrastructure funds in the region, sized at over $2 billion. Still, 2018 proved a tough year for parent company CCCC, as it found itself at the centre of several controversies, including cancelled projects in Malaysia and a block from the Canadian government for its proposed acquisition of Aecon.

44 – Equis

2017 position: 30

After dominating the headlines in the latter half of 2017 thanks to the $5 billion sale of then Equis Energy (now rebranded as Vena Energy), the Singapore-based fund manager is preparing for its next phase of growth. Within the space of a month, it added two new partners: Mark Warner from the University of Texas/Texas A&M Investment Management Company; and Damian Secen from Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets. The firm is planning to launch a new fund in early 2019, Secen told Infrastructure Investor last month.

43 – Starwood Energy Group

2017 position: 48

Institutional investors from North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific helped the Connecticut-based firm reach final close on Starwood Energy Infrastructure Fund III on “more than $1.2 billion” in July, boosting the firm up five places from last year. The close came a few months after Starwood Energy agreed to buy a 1.2GW power plant bundle, comprising four coal-fired power plants in the US from
Ares Management.

42 – Goldman Sachs Infrastructure Partners

2017 position: 36

The past few months have been punctuated with several realisations by the NY-based manager, including the sale of its 15 percent stake in Groupe Eurotunnel to Atlantia for nearly €1.1 billion and 33.3 percent stake sale in Spanish gas distribution company Redexis. But the firm has also been investing, announcing a £537.8 million take private for UK broadband group CityFibre, alongside Antin, from its West Street Infrastructure III vehicle, which raised $2.5 billion in 2017.

41 – iCON Infrastructure

2017 position: 33

Following a €1.2 billion ‘one-and-done’ final close for its fourth infrastructure fund in 2017, iCON has been busy investing it. Its latest deal saw it purchase Vista Credit Corporation, which owns and leases hot water and heating and cooling systems, along with maintenance services. Earlier in the year, it bough an ownership interest in an Italian integrated waste business, the first deal to be done from Fund IV.

40 – Mirova

HQ: France
2017 position: 50

A manager with very strong environmental credentials, Mirova has leapfrogged quite a few places in this year’s ranking. The firm is currently in the market raising its Eurofideme 4 fund, with the vehicle believed to be targeting €500 million, with a €700 million hard-cap. Eurofideme 4 is targeting 8 percent and will follow a renewables strategy similar to its predecessor, which closed in 2016. In addition, the French manager is also raising its second core fund, aiming for €1 billion.