MACIF and Natixis form €250m infra debt partnership

The French insurer will invest in the asset class through Zencap Asset Management, the private debt unit of its asset management arm OFI.

French mutual insurance company MACIF Group is to target private debt investments through a partnership with Paris-based lender Natixis.

The company has committed €250 million to the asset class, a sum that will be deployed through Zencap Asset Management, the private debt subsidiary of its asset management arm OFI. The funds and assets will be transferred via a French FCT (Fonds Commun de Titrisation) – a dedicated vehicle under co-ownership with no separate legal personality.

“MACIF’s purpose in this partnership is to diversify its investment portfolio in a low-yield environment but also to affirm its commitment to sustainable economy financing,” the company said in a statement. “Natixis’ dedicated infrastructure financing platform provides MACIF with a top-tier access to a pipeline of European transactions.”

The company intends to co-finance projects in sectors including utilities, power, renewables, transportation, social, telecom or water and waste.

The move follows similar initiatives by Natixis over the past two years. In February 2013, the company formalised a partnership with Ageas announced in August 2012 through which Natixis can transfer infrastructure debt transactions to the French insurer via a FCT. Ageas intends to build an infrastructure debt portfolio of €2 billion in the years to 2016.

In June 2013, Natixis signed a memorandum of understanding with CNP Assurances to co-invest in infrastructure debt, targeting investments of between €50 million and €150 million per transaction. The insurer also aims to manage up to €2 billion of infrastructure debt assets over a three-year period.