Whitehelm enters talks for new equity and debt funds

The move could see the group raise up €1bn for its equity vehicle, in a diversification from its managed account investment strategy.

European infrastructure manager Whitehelm Capital has begun talking to investors ahead of its first equity and debt fund launches, Infrastructure Investor understands.

A hard-cap of €1 billion is believed to have been devised for the pan-European equity vehicle, while the debt fund is thought to be at more preliminary stages.

The funds are set to continue Whitehelm’s primary strategy of core, mid-market infrastructure in OECD Europe, with net equity returns set at a minimum of 9 percent. But they will target a different investor base than the one the firm has established for its managed account strategies, which largely comprises European and Australian pension funds such as Prime Super, State Super and Sunsuper.

Whitehelm’s two most recent investments in Europe have seen it acquire Norwegian district heating company Kvitebjorn Varme last July and Dutch tank storage terminal Vopak Terminal Eemshaven in September 2017. It also agreed two deals in Australia last year for small-scale gas generation assets.

Last year, the firm teamed up with Dutch pension group APG to form the world’s first smart cities fund, initially capitalised with €250 million and which is understood to be close to making its first investment. It has also managed a listed infrastructure strategy since 2016.

Whitehelm had over €3 billion in assets under management as at September last year and is led by chief executive Graham Matthews.