US market is ‘next challenge’ for Ardian

The firm has deployed 60% of its Fund IV, including the acquisition of LBC Tank Terminals, its first US deal.

After his firm entered the US market with the acquisition of LBC Tank Terminals, Ardian head of infrastructure Mathias Burghardt sees expansion into the country as the next step for the Paris-based firm.

“It is very exciting because we reached the top in Europe, growing step by step,” Burghardt told Infrastructure Investor during a trip this week to the firm’s New York office. “The US now is our next challenge, for us and also for the younger generation.”

Ardian has raised four infrastructure funds, with its latest vehicle closing in January 2016 at €2.65 billion. That fund is now 60 percent invested, Ardian managing director Stefano Mion said, and expected to be fully deployed by the end of next year.

Infrastructure Investor has learned that Ardian is also raising a $500 million Americas fund, which is expected to close around the end of the year. Ardian would not comment on fundraising.

Though Fund IV is a euro-denominated fund, up to 20 percent of its capital can be invested in non-euro-denominated assets. This allowed the firm to invest approximately $500 million from the vehicle to buy a 35-percent share in LBC, a Belgium-based company whose largest facilities are in Houston and Baton Rouge, with the deal price including the acquisition plus terminal expansion. The deal was reached in May and closed in September, just as Hurricane Harvey hit the US Gulf Coast. Burghardt “spent the weekend watching the news”, but the assets were not damaged.

In Latin America, Ardian has acquired three solar plants in Chile and one in Peru. In North America, Ardian plans to explore opportunities in the US, Canada, Chile and Mexico. Its target deal size will be in the $100 million to $200 million range, smaller than some of the deals it has pursued in Europe.