Infravia poaches Fiera Axium founder ahead of fundraise

The French fund manager has hired Bruno Candès (pictured) as an investment director to help raise its second mid-market European infrastructure fund. The hire is part of a ramp-up in staff that sees Infravia also hire talent from Amber Infrastructure and ETDE.

OFI Infravia, the French infrastructure fund manager, is beefing up its team with three new hires as it prepares to hit the road this year to raise two new infrastructure funds – a follow-up to its first European infrastructure fund and a second vehicle focusing on small regional French public-private partnerships (PPPs). 

The headline hire however is Bruno Candès, who joins Infravia as an investment director. As founding member of Canadian mid-market infrastructure fund Fiera Axium Infrastructure, Candès led efforts in securing C$460 million (€349 million;$460 million) from Canadian institutional investors last year. 

On his LinkedIn profile, Candès says his job at Infravia makes him responsible for “fundraising, origination and other front-office activities for a mid-market European infrastructure equity fund”. The role is in many ways a continuation of his duties at Fiera Axium, which he described as “fundraising, origination and management of assets” for “an infrastructure private equity fund focused on the Canadian mid-market”.

Infravia’s other two hires are Vincent Ménager and Romain Dechelette, who both join as investment managers. Ménager comes to Infravia from Amber Infrastructure, the erstwhile PPP division of defunct infrastructure fund manager Babcock & Brown. Prior to his tenure at Amber, Ménager worked at French bank Natixis’ project finance unit.

Dechelette, for his part, joins from ETDE, the energy and services unit of French developer Bouygues, where he worked on several PPPs. 

Last month, Infrastructure Investor exclusively revealed that Infravia was preparing to raise two new infrastructure funds this year. 

The first initiative, to be launched during the first quarter of the year, is set to be a €100 million to €200 million French infrastructure fund, focusing on small regional PPP projects. Infravia is teaming up with French firms Compagnie Benjamin de Rothschild and NGE, with whom it recently partnered for the €230 million A150 highway PPP.

However, with its first European infrastructure vehicle close to being fully invested, Infravia is also planning to launch a successor European fund this year. The fund is targeting a mid-cap fundraising and will seek to tap foreign limited partners.

Infravia launched its debut infrastructure fund in 2008 and positions itself as a long-term investor in infrastructure, targeting investments across transportation, utilities, energy, telecoms and social infrastructure. Its geographical remit is the 17 countries comprising the Eurozone.