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Pacific Equity Partners looks to expand LP reach with second infra fund

Pacific Equity Partners’ Secure Assets Fund II is understood to be targeting A$1bn and is expected to reach a first close in the next few months.

Australia-based fund manager Pacific Equity Partners is targeting LPs further afield as it seeks to raise A$1 billion ($731 million; €663 million) for its recently launched second Secure Assets Fund.

A source familiar with the matter confirmed the fundraising target and told Infrastructure Investor the firm was actively looking to expand its existing investor base and secure commitments from investors in Europe, Asia and North America for the second iteration of the firm’s SAF.

Launched in February, the new closed-end fund is expected to follow the same strategy as the first SAF, focusing on the transport, waste, utilities, renewables, digital and social infrastructure sectors in Australia and New Zealand. It will target returns in the mid-teens.

It is understood the fund is expected to reach a first close in the next two to three months, with fundraising to continue through to the end of the year.

Launched in 2017, SAF I was the firm’s first fund dedicated to the infrastructure sector. Among its investments was the acquisition of Australian energy retailer Origin Energy’s smart metering business, Acumen, for A$267 million in May 2018 and New Zealand smart metering business Metrix in December 2018, for approximately NZ$270 million ($185 million; €168 million). The firm merged its smart metering businesses to form Intellihub Group and sold a 50 percent stake in the business to Brookfield Asset Management in December 2021. The size of the deal was understood to be worth roughly A$1 billion, placing Intellihub at an equity value of approximately A$2 billion.

Speaking to Infrastructure Investor last year, PEP managing director Evan Hattersley said the first SAF’s investment approach – choosing assets with infrastructure attributes not entirely understood by the broader market and then helping those businesses transition to become more “infrastructure-like” under the fund’s ownership – had proven highly successful.

PEP declined to comment for this story.