NETHERLANDS – Macquarie Bank’s European infrastructure fund, which is backed by institutional investors such as Dutch pension fund ABP, has agreed to buy a 49% stake in utilities group NRE Holding for around €80m.

NRE owns the gas and electricity networks around Eindhoven.

“NRE is a regulated essential-service business in a stable and developed economy,” said Jim Craig, managing director of the Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund.

“It is an excellent business with characteristics that are well matched to the fund’s criteria and suit the needs of our investors – which are pension funds and other investors with a long-term outlook.”

Investors include civil service scheme Stichting Pensioenfonds ABP, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, HSH Nordbank of Germany and Italy’s Generali.

The fund recently announced it has commitments of more than €1.2bn and has raised its final target to €1.5bn

“Infrastructure is emerging strongly as an alternative asset class,” Craig said earlier this year.

The fund has investments in the UK’s South East Water and Arlanda Express, the Swedish high-speed rail service, as well as Brussels International Airport and the Wales & West gas distribution network.