Plenary tables bid for AMP Capital’s A$1.2bn Community Infra Fund

An independent review of the bid is underway as the firm works through key leadership changes to its global infrastructure equity team.

AMP Capital is seeking to fight off a takeover bid by rival Plenary Group for the management rights of its A$1.2 billion ($932 million; €762 million) Community Infrastructure Fund.

AMP Capital confirmed the Community Infrastructure Fund’s independent board committee was reviewing Plenary Group’s proposal to be appointed as its new investment manager. A source familiar with the matter indicated that, while AMP Capital is supportive of this process, it is arguing that it is still the best manager for the fund.

Multiple sources also confirmed that AMP Capital’s global head of social and aged care – Julie-Anne Mizzi, who was based in Sydney and oversaw the Community Infrastructure Fund as part of her role – has left the firm. The departure followed a restructure at the senior level of the Australia and New Zealand arm of the firm’s infrastructure equity business, which resulted in Mizzi’s role being made redundant, the source said.

In a statement, AMP Capital said: “AMP Capital’s Responsible Entity has received an unsolicited proposal from Plenary for the AMP Community Infrastructure Fund (CommIF). AMP Capital has established strong governance practices within CommIF, through its Responsible Entity Board, which has a majority of independent directors, and a CommIF Unitholder Representative Committee. The Responsible Entity Board has established an Independent Board Committee to ensure the proposal is appropriately reviewed in the best interests of all investors.”

Plenary Group declined to comment on its bid to take over the fund.

AMP Capital took over CommIF’s management from Royal Bank of Scotland in September 2010. At the time, the vehicle had four assets and funds under management of circa A$80 million. Since then, its portfolio has grown to 18 assets and FUM of A$1.2 billion. CommIF, backed by 130 LPs, has delivered a since-inception IRR of 9 percent, net of fees, according to information obtained by Infrastructure Investor.

Key leadership changes

In further changes to the firm’s global infrastructure equity team – and following the April announcement of the expected departure of global head of infrastructure equity Boe Pahari – head of Americas Simon Ellis and global head of digital infrastructure Matt Evans are also departing. A source confirmed Ellis is set to retire in October and Evans will be leaving the business in July to pursue an external opportunity.

In a statement, AMP Capital confirmed that Ruben Bhagobati has been appointed the firm’s head of Europe for infrastructure equity. Previously co-head of Europe alongside Evans, he will also co-chair AMP Capital’s infrastructure equity leadership team for Europe, Americas and Asia with Damian Stanley, the firm’s current head of Asia. Stanley has been the head of Asia for infrastructure equity since 2019.

The appointments come as AMP Capital has minted four new partners across its Europe and Americas teams.

A source close to AMP Capital emphasised the personnel changes were designed to create stability and clarity for the future.

The management reshuffle of the infrastructure equity team follows the announcement last month that AMP Limited, AMP Capital’s ASX-listed parent company, is pursuing a demerger and public listing of the latter’s private markets business, which is set to be completed in the first half of 2022.

This followed months of speculation regarding a bid by Ares Management Corporation to take over AMP Capital, with the US-based alternatives fund manager initially seeking to acquire AMP before withdrawing its bid in February.