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NETHERLANDS - NIBC has so far raised £300m for its targeted £500m infrastructure fund thanks to contributions from Dutch pension funds ABP and PGGM but has postponed its partial IPO until at least September.

Details of NIBC's Q1 results published this morning confirm the company - owned by JC Flowers and a consortium of investors - had to postpone plans on March 16 to give public investors access up to 49% of the group's shareholding because of turbulent markets.

Any developments in the initial price offering are now delayed until at least September 2007, said Michael Enthoven, chairman of the managing board of NIBC.

At the same time, however, its first venture into third-party equity funds has gotten off to a good start as the group has raised €300m for its NIBC European Infrastructure I investment fund from ABP, PGGNM and NIBC Bank and expects to close at €500m by the end of the year.

The fund's investment focus is to look at project-based investments and mid-market corporate acquisitions in social infrastructure, roads and transportation, waste management, renewable energy, as well as oil and gas storage, focusing particularly on investments in the Benelux, UK and Germany.

NIBC is predicting it will expand its development of such third-party investments with the institutional market and focus its direct investments on growth projects in infrastructure and the real estate markets.

NIBC admitted pre-tax profit is down 16% on Q1 2006 to €76m while its net profit attributable to shareholders in Q1 2007 fell 11% to €44m compared with the previous quarter and is down 58% on the same period in 2006 (at €104m).

However, this reduced net profit is in part because it saw a profit gain of €35m in Q1 2006 from the sale of Harcourt, as well as a non-recurring loss on its US asset-backed securities book of €29m.

Enthoven warned it expects further losses on its ABS book of business and the firm is winding down its ABS operations because of disappointing results in that space.

"In the first quarter of 2007 all business activities performed well and in line with expectations, except for the US ABS investment book, which was affected by widening credit spreads," said Enthoven.

"We are, of course, disappointed by the results of our US ABS investment book and expect further losses in this book. We intend to wind down our US ABS investment book over time and remain focused on our core business in the US, namely asset management for third parties," he added.

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