Stonepeak nabs Japan Post’s infra head to expand in Asia – exclusive

Yasuhiro Ono will focus on investment sourcing and managing investor relations in the region when he joins the NY-based firm on 21 December.

Yasuhiro Ono, head of infrastructure investments at Japan Post Bank, is leaving his post to join Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners as the US-based firm increases its investment focus on the Asia-Pacific market.

Ono starts in a senior position at Stonepeak on 21 December, according to two sources familiar with his hire. He is leaving after more than three years leading Japan Post Bank’s infrastructure strategy, which has focused on backing projects in sectors including renewables, oil and gas, power transmission, transportation and communications across North America, Europe and Asia. He had previously spent 14 years as a principal at Mitsubishi Corporation.

At Stonepeak, Ono’s responsibilities will mostly include investment sourcing and managing investor relations in the region, one of the sources told Infrastructure Investor. He is currently based in Tokyo but is planning to relocate to Hong Kong when that becomes easier to arrange with regards to the pandemic, the source said.

Stonepeak has been aiming to expand its investment activity into Asia for a while. In August, it launched Digital Edge, a data centre platform that will target the fast-growing sector in the region. Digital Edge was created with a $1 billion commitment from Stonepeak, its investors and the management team of Digital Edge, which includes a group of senior executives formerly with Equinix, Facebook, Tata Communications and Macquarie.

Ono’s hire comes amid a broader senior leadership reshuffle at the firm. In October, Stonepeak announced that one of the firm’s founders, Trent Vichie, plans to retire by the end of next month. The following month, it announced the hire of William Demas as a managing director from Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, as it expects renewables to be a big part of its business in the coming years.

The firm is in the process of raising its debut renewables fund. In November, Infrastructure Investor reported that the Stonepeak Global Renewables Fund was on track to reach its $1.25 billion target and to close near its $2 billion hard-cap early next year.

The vehicle has so far made four investments in solar and wind assets in the US, Taiwan and Japan. The renewables-only vehicle was launched last year to capture steady cashflow from assets that have seen returns compress in an increasingly competitive market. It is thought to be targeting 12 percent gross returns.

The firm is also in the midst of raising its fourth flagship infrastructure fund, which has raised around $8 billion out of a $12 billion target. Terms for Fund IV match those of previous vehicles, including a 1.5 percent management fee, a 20 percent carry and an 8 percent hurdle. The firm targets a net internal rate of return of 12 percent for all its flagship funds and has been meeting or exceeding that target according to documents published by the Employees’ Retirement System of Rhode Island.

Stonepeak declined to comment for this story.