Stonepeak to build investment team in China

The firm has hired a former real estate executive from Macquarie ahead of making its first direct investments and opening a potential office in the country.

Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners is planning to build a team in China as it expands its investment capacity in Asia-Pacific on the back of its debut regional fund, PERE understands.

With the launch of its $3 billion diversified Asia-Pacific infrastructure fund in April, the New York-based infrastructure investor is searching for investment opportunities in mainland China. The firm is yet to make any direct investments in China and the location of the potential China office has not been decided, PERE understands.

It is also understood that the firm is increasing its real assets exposure globally, although traditional infrastructure remains its key investment focus. Similar to its global strategy, the firm will seek to invest in both traditional infrastructure and real assets, such as warehouses, cold storage and data centers in the country.

Stonepeak declined to comment on the matter.

As part of the broader plan to invest in mainland China, the US firm made its first hire for the China team, appointing former Macquarie alumni Derek Ng as a principal in July. Ng will focus on transportation and logistics investment opportunities as part of the firm’s potential expansion. PERE understands that Stonepeak plans to hire additional professionals for the China team but the potential headcount is undecided.

Ng was most recently the head of fund management at Warburg Pincus-backed Chinese logistics specialist New Ease China. During his time at New Ease, he participated in the firm’s $1 billion logistics development venture with Canadian investor QuadReal. Prior to that, Ng spent 10 years at Macquarie Group where he focused on real estate investments.

Ng is the latest Macquarie executive to join Stonepeak, following senior managing director Darren Keogh and managing director Michael Chan, both of whom have joined in the past year to lead fundraising and investment efforts in Asia-Pacific.

Keogh and Chan spent 25 and 15 years at Macquarie, respectively, before joining Stonepeak. The former was most recently global head of telecom, media and technology at Macquarie Capital. The latter was a senior managing director in MIRA Real Estate and head of Asia for Macquarie Capital’s real estate investments team. Keogh is also understood to be spearheading the firm’s opening of an Australia office at the end of this year, according to the Australian Financial Review.

The US firm has built a 19-strong team in Asia-Pacific with an office in Hong Kong. Last year, it formed an independent data center platform, Digital Edge, with a group of seasoned executives from the industry. Digital Edge raised $1 billion in equity to acquire data centers and related digital infrastructure assets across the Asia-Pacific region.

Co-founded by former Blackstone and Macquarie executive Michael Dorrell in 2011, Stonepeak currently has $37 billion of assets under management in infrastructure and real assets. According to its website, over one-third of its investment team with titles above the level of principal come from the Macquarie Group.