A consortium of five Italian industry-wide pension funds – fondi negoziali – has committed €168m to invest in infrastructure through a project called Vesta.

The five pension funds include Foncer (the pension scheme for employees in the ceramic industry), Fondo Gomma Plastica (the supplementary pension fund for workers in the rubber, electrical and related cables and plastics sector), Fopen (the pension fund for the employees of energy company Enel), Fondo Pensione Complementare Pegaso (the contractual pension fund for employees in the utilities sector), and Previmoda (the pension fund for the fashion and textile sector).

Foncer will invest €18m in the Vesta project, while Fondo Gomma Plastica will allocate €40m, Fopen €30m, Pegaso €40m and Previmoda €40m.

The pension schemes plan to invest the assets in the European Union and within it a significant share in Italy, following core and core-plus strategies with a diversification in terms of sectors in infrastructure.

The investment policy is geared towards environmental and social aspects in line with article 8 of SFDR Regulation.

The pension funds have started a tender to pick a manager of alternative funds (Alternative Investment Fund Manager, AIFM) for the selection of alternative investment funds (AIFs) to invest the assets in infrastructure.

The process to select an asset manager, conducted with the support of Prometeia Advisor Sim, will end in November, so that mandates can run from the beginning of 2023, the pension funds said in a statement.

The Vesta project is part of an investment programme in alternative asset classes launched by the pension funds a few years ago, with the primary goal to diversify investments and sources of returns.

Four industry-wide pension funds – Fondo Gomma Plastica, Fopen, Pegaso e Previmoda – started Progetto Zefiro (Project Zephyr), selecting last year StepStone Group to invest in private debt through an AIF strategy.

Another partnership of five pension funds – Foncer, Fondenergia, Fondo Gomma Plastica, Pegaso and Previmoda – set up a consortium named ‘Progetto Iride’ (Project Iris) to invest in private equity.

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