The Pipeline: Stonepeak’s $20bn Fund V, Brookfield’s Origin story, OTPP’s clean transmission bet

Stonepeak preps $20 billion fifth fund; Brookfield is bullish on Origin’s transition; and OTPP's SSENsible electricity transmission deal. Welcome to The Pipeline, the start-the-week briefing for our valued subscribers only.

First look

Milestone: A $20bn fund would push Stonepeak into fundraising’s higher echelons (Source: Getty)

Stonepeak readies $20bn ‘gigafund’ returnNot content with raising one of the largest mega-funds of the year – Stonepeak Infrastructure Fund IV, which closed on $14 billion in February – Stonepeak is now ready to cross into ‘gigafund’ territory with its next vehicle.

That’s according to Reuters, which reported last week that the firm is targeting between $15 billion and $20 billion for its next vintage early next year. Should it hit the latter, it will join Brookfield Asset Management and Global Infrastructure Partners in that rarefied fundraising stratosphere. It’s worth noting that Fund IV set out with an original target of $10 billion.

Stonepeak could not be reached for comment.

Fund IV is too young for any meaningful data, but Stonepeak’s third fund is generating a net IRR of 22.3 percent, and its second and first funds are generating 14.1 percent and 9.8 percent, respectively, as of the end of June, according to figures from the Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund.

Something for LPs to be mindful of when they’re asked to open their wallets again.

Brookfield’s Origin storyBrookfield Asset Management’s recent A$18.4 billion ($12.44 billion; €11.95 billion) take-private bid for Origin Energy – in partnership with EIG-owned MidOcean Energy – is leaving it with no regrets over its failed bid for AGL Energy earlier this year.

Speaking at the AFR’s 2022 Infrastructure Summit, in Sydney, Brookfield Asia-Pacific CEO Stewart Upson said Origin, in comparison with AGL, was “more on the front foot” with its transition plans, which would give the firm “a running start” in seeing that transition through.

Upson also stressed the importance of private capital in getting companies like Origin over the line with their transition plans, noting: “Any company in this space that’s listed right now and is in this situation where they have a serious transition task, has a challenge because they’re traditionally dividend yield stocks.

“They now have this huge capital requirement and, generally, because they have this transition, they tend to have high emissions and most institutional investors don’t hold them anymore… They are in this real catch-22 [and] private capital takes that one issue away.”

Co-investment Access guaranteed with $400m Fund IIAccess Capital Partners has hit its €400 million target for ACIF Infrastructure II nearly two years after a first close of €143 million.

An Article 8 fund under the EU’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation, Fund II is already 45 percent invested via a portfolio of eight investments in the digitalisation, environmental services, circular economy, energy and transportation sectors, the firm said in a statement.

Existing and new LPs committed to the fund, which, like its slightly smaller predecessor – 2018’s ACIF Infrastructure I, which closed on €371 million – invests in brownfield assets across Europe.

Established in 1998 as a small buyouts fund of funds manager, Access did not begin investing in infrastructure until 2013. It’s wasted little time since, with its infra AUM now standing at €3.4 billion, roughly one-quarter of the firm’s €13 billion total AUM.


“This industry is about capex, it’s about investing; it’s not about running the company and doing nothing”

Cellnex CEO Tobías Martínez Gimeno takes a dig at some blue-chip infra GPs as he tells the FT the M&A era in telecom towers is ‘pretty much closed’

Who’s hiring

Infracapital’s new MD joins after ‘roller coaster ride’ at DigitalBridgeInfracapital has hired Latifa Tefridj-Gaillard as a managing director and its new head of capital formation and investor relations. She joins from DigitalBridge, where she was also an MD and head of European capital formation, responsible for investor relations and the manager’s global credit strategy, Infracapital said in a statement.

Tefridj-Gaillard’s two years at DigitalBridge have certainly left their mark. “The experience was nothing short of a roller coaster ride, but don’t we all love the crazy rides?!”, she wrote in a LinkedIn post.

Tefridj-Gaillard, who also spent more than 16 years at Goldman Sachs, might find the pace a little less hectic at Infracapital. After all, the London-based manager wrapped up its Infracapital Greenfield Partners II last November on £1.5 billion ($1.8 billion; €1.7 billion) – a month later, Tefridj-Gaillard was helping DigitalBridge Partners II hold an $8.3 billion final close.

Still, with its fundraising team strengthened, it seems inevitable Infracapital will aim higher with its next market outing.

Infranity bags industry veteran Louis-Roch BurgardInfranity has strengthened its equity team with a former CEO of no fewer than three major French companies. The new appointee, Louis-Roch Burgard, joins Infranity as managing director and co-head of equity investments, boosting a six-person equity team based in London and Paris.

Burgard, who is “delighted to join the Infranity team”, comes with experience in mobility, water and engineering through executive positions in VINCI Concessions, Saur and CNIM.

Infranity has recently rebranded from Generali Global Infrastructure and counts €7 billion of AUM. It is raising a €2 billion senior debt fund, expected to reach a final close next year. That vehicle is the same size as its predecessor, which was raised between 2020-21 and is now fully invested.

Steady growth for the 2018-founded GP, then.

LP watch

Are the DC pension floodgates about to open?UK defined contribution schemes – set to grow to more than £1 trillion by 2030 – are a step closer to being able to invest more in illiquid asset classes such as infrastructure, affiliate title Private Equity International reported (registration required). A working group convened by various UK governmental bodies that includes 20 DC pensions has released a set of guides outlining six key areas to help schemes better understand and ultimately invest more in private markets.

A key focus of the guide is on value over cost – something that has been a sticking point over the years.

Joanna Asfour, a managing director at Partners Group, which was part of the working group, warned of the perils of being too miserly: “In our view, an excessive focus on cost could result in a missed opportunity to secure long term value for members in the future.”


Tricky terrain: From the North Sea to the Scottish Highlands for SSEN Transmission (Source: Getty)

OTPP’s SSENsible clean electricity transmission dealThe Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan has bought a 25 percent stake in SSEN Transmission for £1.46 billion in cash from Scotland-based energy provider SSE.

The transmission business transports electricity generated from renewable sources such as onshore and offshore wind and hydro to the north of Scotland. “SSEN Transmission is one of Europe’s fastest growing transmission networks,” said Charles Thomazi, senior managing director and head of EMEA Infrastructure & Natural Resources for OTPP, noting “its network stretches across some of the most challenging terrain in Scotland”.

The Canadian pension’s Infrastructure & Natural Resources group owns significant electricity distribution assets across the world, including Caruna, Finland’s largest electricity distributor; Evoltz, a leading transmission platform in Brazil; and Spark Infrastructure, which invests in essential energy infrastructure in Australia, serving more than five million homes and businesses.

Igneo snaps up NZ electricity distributorSticking with electricity distribution, Igneo Infrastructure Partners is set to purchase New Zealand’s Eastland Network for a reported NZ$260 million ($163 million; €156 million).

Acquiring the distributor – which represents the electricity network for the Gisborne, Wairoa and East Coast region of New Zealand – from ports and electricity generation owner Eastland Group, the firm intends to add Eastland Network to its existing gas distribution business, Firstgas. The latter’s gas distribution network currently supplies more than 430,000 homes and businesses across the country with natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas.

In a statement, Igneo’s head of asset management for Australia and New Zealand, Daniel Timms, said owning and operating gas and electricity distribution networks would help Firstgas “facilitate a lower-emissions future for New Zealand”.

“We expect to further invest in the network as electrification increases energy demand over the coming years,” he added.

Today’s letter was prepared by Bruno AlvesZak BentleyKalliope Gourntis, Tharshini Ashokan and Anne-Louise Petersen also contributed.