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Whitehelm nears €750m target for maiden infra debt fund

The firm has already raised €500m from European investors and will now pitch the vehicle to Australian LPs.

London-based manager Whitehelm Capital has reached a €500 million first close on its first infrastructure debt fund as it nears its €750 million target.

Whitehelm has so far raised the capital for Infrastructure Debt Partners I from European investors, Infrastructure Investor understands. It will now pitch the remainder of the fund to Australian LPs, where it has-established relationships with some of the country’s superfunds. Australia is also the home of its part owner, Challenger Group. Whitehelm expects to close the fund by the summer.

The vehicle primarily targets non-senior debt investments in Europe and has made two investments in unnamed utility and broadcast businesses. It targets returns of 400-600 basis points over reference rates and has a 10-year life.

Whitehelm said its infrastructure debt investments, totalling about €1.3 billion, have returned more than 9 percent gross of fees since 2001. The majority of those were made through managed accounts before the launch of IDP I last year.

The launch of IDP I came alongside the launch of an infrastructure equity vehicle. It is understood the equity fund has raised substantially more than IDP I’s €500 million. A source said Whitehelm will soon begin marketing it to US investors. It targets core, mid-market assets in OECD Europe with net returns at a minimum of 9 percent.

Both IDP I and the new equity vehicle are believed to have been pitched to a wider investor base than Whitehelm has previously catered for.

Whitehelm declined to comment on the fundraisings.

Its most recent equity investment came in Norway last month when, through portfolio company Pioneer Public Properties, it acquired 11 pre-school properties. Pioneer owns 184 pre-school and care home assets across the Nordics.