KKR gears up for $2bn Asia fundraising as it rounds out regional team

With MIRA veteran David Luboff and Brookfield’s Hardik Shah joining, the manager is targeting its first Asia-focused infrastructure fund.

KKR is planning to launch an Asia-focused infrastructure fund targeting between $1.5 billion and $2 billion, according to a source familiar with the matter, as it builds up its regional team.

The source said the fundraising could launch “soon” but is uncertain whether the New York-based firm will begin collecting capital before 2019.

The move comes as it hired David Luboff, a senior managing director at Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets, to lead the firm’s emerging Asia-Pacific infrastructure strategy. Luboff will join KKR as a member (what the firm calls partner-level senior investment officials) in early 2019, according to a KKR spokeswoman.

Since 2000, Luboff has managed infrastructure investments across Asia, Australia and North America for MIRA, most recently helping the firm close its Macquarie Asia Infrastructure Fund II on $3.3 billion, in April. The latter is one of the year’s biggest fundraisings and Asia’s largest dedicated infrastructure vehicle.

He will be based in Singapore and is part of an Asian infrastructure team the New York-based private equity firm is forming, which also includes the hire of director Hardik Shah earlier this month. While Shah was most recently senior vice president at Brookfield Asset Management, where he was responsible for sourcing and executing infrastructure investments, he previously served as senior vice president of MIRA in Mumbai, where he continues to be based.

KKR confirmed it has hired Luboff and Shah, but declined to comment on questions regarding the potential fundraising, which would represent KKR’s first infrastructure vehicle targeting the Asian market.

The manager has just recently come off the fundraising trail, closing its Global Infrastructure Investors III fund in August on $7.4 billion and completing what has been the industry’s largest capital-raising this year.

KKR has already announced two deals from that fund, a $1.2 billion acquisition of natural gas services company Discovery Midstream, alongside Williams Partners; and Starlight, a French telecoms towers business.

The firm’s fundraising news comes amid several changes to its infrastructure team this year. In April, Jesus Olmos, formerly the global co-head, left the firm to launch his own firm, Asterion Industrial. Directors Ram Kumar and Guido Mitrani have also resigned in recent months.

Raj Agrawal is now the sole leader of KKR’s infrastructure team, while Tara Davies leads the business’s European activities.

In September, Infrastructure Investor reported that Macquarie Capital’s senior vice president James Gordon joined KKR as a new investment director based in London.