French fund manager Ardian has hired energy veteran Simo Santavirta to strengthen its infrastructure asset management capabilities as it moves to “a more industrial approach in the asset management of its portfolio companies”, Ardian stated.
Santavirta, who will be based in Paris, brings 18 years of experience, including 13 at global power group InterGen, with stints in Europe, Asia, Australia and North America. His most recent position at InterGen was vice president for strategy and portfolio management at the company’s US head office. His appointment comes after Ardian clinched several energy investments last year in the likes of Spanish oil storage firm CLH, Luxembourg utility Enovos and French oil storage company Geosel.
“Simo brings unique experience in the energy industry. We are seeing many more opportunities in this area, and Simo’s skills and insight will be deployed across our portfolio. As a leading European infrastructure fund manager, we are moving towards an industrial approach of our energy and transport infrastructures to ensure we deliver the best results for all stakeholders, from investors to public and private partners,” commented Ardian head of infrastructure Mathias Burghardt.
Earlier this year, Ardian closed its fourth infrastructure fund at €2.65 billion, which it claims is the largest European infrastructure fund raised to date. The vehicle also marks the first time an Ardian infrastructure fund will invest outside of Europe, with 20 percent of the vehicle earmarked for deals in other OECD countries focusing on airports and renewable energy.
Burghardt previously told Infrastructure Investor that Ardian plans to ease its way into new markets by starting with investments that are either low-risk or small in size – or both. “We like to start modest with local partners,” he said.