Stafford Capital’s latest infra secondaries fund reaches first close

Stafford expects infrastructure secondaries deal volume to almost double by 2025 to $10bn.

Stafford Capital Partners has held a first close on its latest infrastructure secondaries fund.

The London-based asset manager has raised €153 million for Stafford Infrastructure Secondaries Fund IV with the support of eight institutional investors from the US and Europe, sister publication Secondaries Investor reported, citing a statement.

The fund will target core, yielding infrastructure assets at a discount, said partner William Greene, adding: “We are very thankful for the support from both existing and new investors who appreciate the resilience of the asset class, particularly amidst these challenging times.”

Stafford has around $1 billion in infrastructure assets under management and exposure to approximately 300 assets located primarily in OECD countries, according to the statement.

The vehicle raised immediately before Fund IV, according to Infrastructure Investor data and announcements on the firm’s website, is the Stafford Infrastructure Secondaries Fund II, which the firm launched in 2016 and closed on €400 million in 2018, against a target of €250 million.

There is also an SISF III vehicle but it is a managed account for a group of Swiss pension funds (IST3), Stafford Capital partner William Greene said. Its AUM is around 250 million Swiss francs ($275 million; €232 million).

Stafford expects infrastructure secondaries deal volume to hit $10 billion in the next five years, up from around $6 billion now, in line with growing primary commitments to the asset class, Secondaries Investor reported in March.

“It is our perception that the market is growing in line with or more quickly than the demand for such transactions, ensuring that infrastructure secondaries remain a buyer’s market for specialist players,” said Greene.

In July, Blackstone’s secondaries arm Strategic Partners, raised $3.75 billion for Strategic Partners Infrastructure III, making it the largest infrastructure secondaries fund to date. Around the same time, it also completed the largest infrastructure secondaries deal, acquiring a $1 billion portfolio from Alaska Permanent Fund, Secondaries Investor reported.

Infrastructure transaction volumes declined by 4.4 percent in the first half of this year, compared with more than 50 percent for private equity and real estate assets, according to a survey by intermediary Setter Capital.