Tech financier’s business takes 50% of Russian infra firm

Rise Capital will seek to invest up to $12bn over the next five years with the backing of entrepreneur Gerard Lopez, who provided early support for Skype.

Nekton Global, an energy merchant business chaired by entrepreneur Gerard Lopez, has acquired a 50 percent stake in Rise Capital, a private equity firm focused on infrastructure investments in Russia.

An announcement said the partnership would bring together “complementary skillsets”. Rise Capital invests in public-private partnerships (PPPs) in a range of sectors including energy, transport and social infrastructure.

Nekton Global, which is based in Dubai and has made investments in the energy sector, “will utilise its extensive experience, network and financing capabilities to help source additional financing for projects, with a particular focus on wealth funds, pension funds and institutional investors in Asia and the Middle East”.

Rise Capital, which was formed in 2013, claims to have a future pipeline of 45 potential projects, with investment ticket sizes in these projects ranging from $500 million to $2 billion (equity and debt combined). The firm says it will seek to increase its investment capacity over the next five years to approximately $12 billion.

As part of the deal, Lopez becomes chairman of the board at Rise Capital. “We see tremendous opportunities in infrastructure investing in Russia and see great growth potential in the country, which can be leveraged using the right mix of management expertise, experience and capital deployment,” he said in a statement.

Based in Luxembourg, Lopez is a founding partner of venture capital firm Mangrove Capital, which has funded high-tech success stories including video chat firm Skype, cloud-based web developer Wix and instant messaging firm Nimbuzz.

Lopez is also the founder of Genii Capital, which invests in real estate, finance and the automotive sector, and is chairman of Formula One motor racing team Lotus F1.