Veteran Vineburg joins CVC to launch infrastructure

CVC, the global buyout firm, is the latest private equity firm to open a dedicated infrastructure unit. 3i, Europe’s largest quoted private equity firm, launched its offering earlier this year.

CVC Capital Partners, a private equity firm in Europe and Asia, is expanding its product range and launching a $2 billion (€1.4 billion) infrastructure fund.

It has appointed Stephen Vineburg as chief executive from Colonial First State Global Asset Management, the investment management arm of Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Under Vineburg CVC’s business will combine investment and industrial expertise to “apply a value-added approach to infrastructure asset investing”, the firm said.

It will begin raising the $2 billion fund early in 2008, which will seek to make investments in infrastructure assets primarily in Europe but will also, where appropriate, invest in Asia and the US.

Vineburg has been a pioneer of infrastructure investment, managing portfolios of investments in toll roads, railways, airports and water, gas and electricity businesses for institutional clients since 1994.

He has been responsible for a global portfolio which in Europe includes investments in the Inexus Group, Anglian Water Group and the recently announced acquisition of the Norweb electricity distribution business.

Michael Smith, CVC’s chairman, said: “The sector is very complementary to CVC’s private equity activities, and the business will benefit from CVC’s network, and connections.

CVC has a network of 18 offices and 177 employees throughout Europe, Asia and the US. It is currently investing from CVC Fund IV, CVC Asia II and CVC Tandem Fund with an aggregate of $15bn in capital.

CVC's infrastructure play puts it in contention with US firm The Carlyle Group, which closed its Carlyle Infrastructure Partners fund last month on $1.15 billion. 3i, the European quoted private equity firm, floated its infrastructure fund this summer raising £700 million (€974 million; $1.44 billion).

Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley are also among those marketing infrastructure funds; in just the first six months of this year, fund placement adviser Probitas said $16.7 billion was raised for infrastructure funds – nearly matching the full amount raised last year, and more than three times the $5.2 billion raised in all of 2005.