La Banque Postale Asset Management has held a €375 million first close on its new European Responsible Infrastructure debt fund, as it seeks a total of €600 million.
A variety of European LPs have committed to the senior debt vehicle, which is planned to close by the end of the year. The hard-cap is €700 million. It is eyeing a spread of 200 basis points and a return of about 250 basis points, René Kassis, head of private debt at LBPAM, told Infrastructure Investor.
The vehicle is the Paris-based group’s third infrastructure fund and will see LBPAM apply its own ESG screening processes to investments, which can be made across the infrastructure spectrum. Investments have already made in the energy transition and digital infrastructure sectors.
Kassis added that for energy transition projects, the fund would look beyond traditional renewables and invest in energy storage and electric vehicle charging infrastructure. He also highlighted heating assets in the Nordics as particularly attractive.
“It’s not as simple as other transactions but with the right structures it can be done in specific business models,” he explained, talking about the profitability of EV charging assets, which was called into question by S&P Global Ratings earlier this year.
Kassis added that the fund’s direct lending opportunities have widened since legislative changes came into effect in France towards the end of last year. While beforehand private debt managers had to loan indirectly through banks, they can now originate their own loans, making the process “more straightforward”, he said.
LBPAM has €1.3 billion in assets under management in infrastructure and launched its first fund in 2013.