Morrison seals first close on New Zealand PPP fund

The Antipodean asset manager has collected more than half its $100m target for its second PPP vehicle after deciding to focus on Australia through another structure.

Morrison & Co has reached a first close on Public Infrastructure Partners II (PIP II), an infrastructure fund focused on New Zealand public-private partnerships (PPPs).

The Wellington-based asset manager has collected $80 million for the vehicle, which has a target of $100 million and hard-cap of $150 million. The firm now has 12 months to meet its objective.

The fund is a successor vehicle to PIP, which Morrison closed in 2009 on $160 million. Contrary to its elder, however, PIP II will be solely focused on the New Zealand market. Its launch comes three years after the firm closed Australian Social Infrastructure Partners to cover Australia’s availability-based PPP market.

A new cornerstone investor, the NZ$3.7 billion (€2.3 billion; $2.5 billion) Government Superannuation Fund Authority, helped bring PIP II pass its first milestone. Prior limited partners in PIP vehicles have included New Zealand Superannuation Fund, the country’s NZ$29.8 billion sovereign wealth fund.

Now fully deployed, PIP is invested in the Hobsonville Point Primary and Secondary Schools, Melbourne Convention Centre PPP, Bendigo Hospital key health worker accommodation, University of Wollongong Student Accommodation, NZ Schools II PPP and Auckland Prison PPP projects.

Australian Social Infrastructure Partners has stakes in Queensland Schools and the New Royal Adelaide Hospital.

“The PPP sector was unproven in New Zealand when we raised PIP I. Morrison & Co built an experienced team with the capability to structure robust investments and shape the NZ PPP market,” said Marko Bogoievski, chief executive of Morrison & Co, in a statement.

“We believe combining patient capital with our active investment style will make PIP Fund II an attractive investment partner in the PPP market.”

Last September, Morrison acquired a 50 percent interest in the 420-megawatt Macarthur Wind Farm from Australia’s AGL Energy for A$532 million (€350 million; $254 million).

The firm also manages Infratil, a Sydney- and Auckland-listed infrastructure fund it launched in 1994. Last January, the vehicle partnered with the New Zealand Superannuation Fund to purchase RetireAustralia, Australia’s largest privately-held pure-play retirement operator, for A$640.2 million.