ING drops fund for investors in infrastructure
Ambitious scheme launched last year fails to attract sufficient critical mass in volatile market
Sunday 16 August 2009
ING, the Dutch insurance conglomerate, has pulled its €1bn (£860m) European Infrastructure Fund (EIF) having failed to attract enough investors.
The fund was launched last year, when it was seeded with two existing ING investments. These were a 29 per cent stake in Welcome Break, the motorway services company, and a 24.9 per cent share of a wind farm project in Holland.
Richard Games, the head of the fund, said at the time that infrastructure assets were a strong investment in the current volatile market, as they provide stable returns.
However, in a statement this weekend, ING said: "Due to a combination of market conditions, concerns over achievable critical mass and our strategy for taking the business forward, we have, sadly, decided to discontinue with the marketing of the ING EIF."
The company has not yet decided what to do with the Welcome Break and wind farm stakes, but added that it would "be working with prospective investors" on options for purchasing infrastructure.
ING is understood to be in talks with the team running the fund over their futures. Mr Games was formerly head of infrastructure at WestLB, the €290bn international bank. ING praised his team for having "worked so hard towards" the fund's launch.
A market source said that ING had already tried to scale back its ambitions to create a €300m fund, but was no more successful in hitting this more modest target.
Though ING insisted that infrastructure remained "a sound investment", similar funds to EIF have also been struggling. Last autumn, Bank of Ireland decided against going ahead with an infrastructure fund believed to have been targeted at €300m to €400m, even though about €100m had already been raised.
A member of that team, investment director Mike Bryan, has since moved to the Treasury as a project finance specialist in the infrastructure finance unit. Prior to his year at Bank of Ireland, Mr Bryan was head of infrastructure at Dutch merchant bank NIBC.
A leading infrastructure fund manager said: "Companies started setting up these funds thinking it was easy, but raising the investment is actually quite hard."
Michael Ryan, a former managing director at infrastructure investor I2, is returning to the sector. He is aiming to complete a £300m fundraising with two former colleagues by early next year.
Several big names in the sector are turning their hands to renewable energy assets. Barry Williams, the co-founder of the Secondary Market Infrastructure Fund, recently set up Aleltho Energy with Perry Noble, the former co-head of the global finance practices at law firm Freshfields.
The company will invest up to £30m in any one renewable energy asset, and signed its first memorandum of understanding with a company last week. On Thursday, Aleltho announced a deal with ITI Energy, a manufacturer of thermal conversion technology.
- 2 California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
- 3 School kitchen manager 'fired from Colorado school for giving hungry students free lunches'
- 5 Charles Kennedy 'had better judgement drunk than many sober politicians' says Ian Hislop
California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
Amber Peat: Body found in search for missing 13-year-old who left house after argument with her parents
School kitchen manager 'fired from Colorado school for giving hungry students free lunches'
Isis executes three gay men by dangling them from top of 100ft building and letting go
Alton Towers crash: Four guests seriously injured as Smiler ride carriages collide
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers
iJobs Money & Business
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...
£70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...
£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...
£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...