NETHERLANDS - DIF, the Dutch independent fund manager specialising in infrastructure, has announced the first closure of its DIF Infrastructure II fund at approximately €200m with a series of large institutional investors.

ABP, the European Investment Bank, Stichting Pensioenfonds DSM Nederland and Stichting Pensioenfonds SABIC are amongst those who have invested in the fund, which aims to raise €500m and offers investors access to a portfolio of European infrastructure assets.

Menno Witteveen, managing partner and founder of DIF, said: "Closing a new fund in these turbulent times is an indication of the confidence of investors for the DIF's new fund. Our focus will remain on Infrastructure and Renewable Energy assets across Europe that earn an attractive as well as steady cash-flow unconnected to changing market circumstances."

The fund, which is seeking a target rate of return of 10%, will focus primarily on investing in Public Private Partnership (PPP) and Private Finance Initiative (PFI) type projects like roads, hospital and schools, and in renewable energy projects like onshore wind and solar projects.

DIF Infrastructure II has a lifespan of 10 years and is looking to have its second close in the first quarter of 2009.

It will look to improve relationships and the investment performances of its two existing infrastructure funds, the DIF PPP and DIF Renewable Energy.

DIF PPP closed in 2006 with €150m and is now almost fully invested in assets in the Netherlands, UK, France and Scandinavia, while the €150m  DIF Renewable Energy Fund launched in September 2008 and has invested in the Netherlands, France, Germany and Spain.