Warming up nicely

It was a busy summer for sport fanatics. Hot on the heels of the French Open kicked off the Football World Cup in Brazil and the Wimbledon tournament, followed by the Tour de France and the European athletics Championships. With a flurry of other great competition in golf, cricket and many other disciplines, you would have been forgiven to spend most of the last three months in front of a TV screen.

And yet not many seem to have done so in the infrastructure world, where the referee clearly forgot to blow for halftime. The period indeed saw the start of ambitious fundraising campaigns: New York-based fund manager Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) launched its first infrastructure debt fund with a target of $2.5 billion, while Allianz Global Investors, the investment arm of German insurer Allianz, started marketing a UK debt vehicle with a target of $500 million. Other managers seeking to make their mark in the debt space include France’s Edmond de Rothschild Asset Management, which aims to follow its €400 million July first close by a final closing in the last quarter of 2014.

Some firms made the most of the cheaper airtime the summer lull usually provides to announce fund closes. That was the case of US-based First Reserve, which closed its second, $2.5 billion energy infrastructure fund in June. San Francisco-based McMorgan & Co. achieved a $1.33 billion fund close on its first infrastructure fund and became the sixth member to join Borealis Infrastructure’s Global Strategic Investment Alliance, helping the OMERS-led platform reach a close on nearly $12.6 billion. Canadian asset manager Northleaf Capital Partners closed its co-investment infrastructure fund on $520 million, while US-based Fortress Investment Group collected $995 million for its maiden infrastructure vehicle.

For a number of other managers a final close, while not immediate, seemed to become a tangible possibility. It emerged that London-based fund manager Infracapital had raised at least £770 million (€959 million; $1.3 billion) out of its £900 million target, while Hermes Fund Managers also neared its £800 million objective by collecting more than £700 million. Morgan Stanley Infrastructure reached a first $1.5 billion close for its second infrastructure fund, which has a target of $4 billion.

With the beautiful days also came promising strategic initiatives. It was a particularly busy period for Dutch pension administrator APG Asset Management (APG), which launched both a $1 billion alliance with Mumbai-based Piramal Enterprises to invest in Indian infrastructure companies and a €500 million platform with Germany’s Aquila Capital to target hydropower opportunities across Europe. Another splash in the pond was the announcement by the Russian Direct Investment Fund’s Kirill Dmitriev that sovereign wealth funds from the BRICS would begin talks to set up a multi-billion infrastructure fund. New York-based fund manager I Squared Capital also formed a tie-up with Japanese business conglomerate Mitsubishi Corporation to invest in infrastructure.

It didn’t sound like dealmakers took much holiday either, with things remaining active on the transaction front. Macquarie Infrastructure Company bought the remaining 50 percent stake it did not already own in marine terminal operator IMTT for $1.03 billion, while Providence Equity Partners made its first foray in Africa by investing in Helios Towers. The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board paid €376 million for a 35 percent stake in European business Interparking and made its first Indian investment by plugging $332 million in a subsidiary of developer Larsen & Toubro. APG injected €237 million in a Latin American grid while Antin Infrastructure Partners made its first deal since closing a €2 billion fund in June by buying a North Sea pipeline for £562 million.

Two last spots also proved to be hot ones this summer: exits and people’s moves. TPG and The Carlyle Group floated Australian hospital operator Healthscope in a A$2.57 billion (€1.79 billion; $2.39 billion) IPO, GIP pocketed nearly $6 billion on the sale of gas services business Access, and Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets sold its shareholding in Sweden’s A-Train to buyers largely made of Aussie supers.

Meanwhile we learnt that ex-J.P. Morgan Infrastructure Investments Group chief Mark Weisdorf, who departed the group in July, had plans to launch a new infrastructure platform; and Gary Withers became chief executive of Sydney-based Whitehelm Capital, formed from the merger of Challenger Limited’s infrastructure division with Access Capital Advisers last April. IFM Investors also decided to get a stronger grip on financing by appointing Alec Montgomery to the newly created role of global head of capital markets.