Meridiam courts EBRD as Fund II hits €500m

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is considering investing €100m in the Meridiam Infrastructure Eastern Europe Fund. The sub-vehicle will form part of Meridiam’s second European infrastructure fund, for which it has currently raised about half of the €1bn it is targeting.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is considering investing up to €100 million in a sub-vehicle that will form part of Paris-based fund manager Meridiam Infrastructure’s second infrastructure fund, the bank announced in a statement.

The sub-fund – known as Meridiam Infrastructure Eastern Europe Fund (MIEEF) – will form part of Meridiam Infrastructure Europe Fund II, for which it has already raised about half of its €1 billion targeted amount, sources familiar with Meridiam’s fundraising told Infrastructure Investor. Meridiam expects to reach final close on its second European fund by the end of this year.

MIEEF will target public-private partnership (PPP) projects in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and, to a lesser extent, Turkey, the EBRD said. The bank expects to make a final decision on the investment on June 1, 2011. Meridiam already owns two PPP investments in the region: Slovakia’s R1 and Poland’s A2 motorways.

Meridiam did not wish to comment on the CEE sub-vehicle until the EBRD makes its final decision on the investment. But sources said the CEE sub-vehicle structure was necessary because the EBRD cannot invest in Western Europe, to which Meridiam’s second infrastructure fund will be exposed. The sub-vehicle may be limited in size solely to the EBRD’s €100 million commitment.

Meridiam is also fundraising for a dedicated North American infrastructure fund, targeting $1 billion. That fund had reached a first close of $100 million last June. Since then, the fund has raised at least an additional $70 million from two investors, according to a regulatory filing Meridiam made with the Securities and Exchange Commission in late April, giving it at least $170 million in total commitments. 

In addition to the two vehicles it is now raising, Meridiam also manages a €600 million infrastructure fund, its first infrastructure vehicle, closed in 2008.