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German, Austrian investors back logistics, renewable energy

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EUROPE – German and Austrian institutional investors have backed two new funds targeting logistics and renewable energy infrastructure, respectively.

Union Investment has launched an infrastructure Specialised Investment fund (SIF) as a Luxembourg-based SICAV available to German investors.

Uncertainties surrounding the future of German Spezialfonds could lead to an increased interest in SICAVs, although this alternative is already widely used by German institutional investors depending on the investment theme and their expertise.

The infrastructure fund will target wind energy assets and photovoltaics, with the latter representing as much as 70% of the portfolio, which Union said would provide "very good risk diversification".

The fund has raised €50m from institutional investors in a first phase, to which Union Investment will add €300m from its own capital.

This will push the volume of the fund to €1bn once debt financing is taken into account from the project companies running the wind and solar parks.

Union Investment forecasts a return target on capital of between 6% and 8% over the long term.

The fund will mainly invest in "core Europe" - namely, Germany, France and the UK - with the option of going into Sweden and Poland as well.

The company noted it would be investing in onshore projects, as the technology was already proven and therefore posed fewer risks than relatively new offshore technologies.

Christoph Schumacher, board member at Union Investment Institutional Property, said infrastructure was a "strategic growth area" and that the company wanted to "explore this area for clients" step by step.

Meanwhile, Henderson Global Investors announced it had raised €90m for its German logistics fund, which it had issued together with logistics specialist Palmira Capital Partners.

The money comes from insurers, pension funds and Pensionskassen from Germany, but the fund is also open to Austrian investors.

The fund manager said 60% of the capital had already been placed, bringing available capital to €150m after the first closing with a debt capital of 40%.

The target volume of the fund will eventually be €250m.

Henderson plans to invest approximately €50m in 3-4 assets this year and is targeting a total return of 8.5% per annum.

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