LONDON Nov 26 BlackRock aims to lend
clients' money to European infrastructure projects, as it seeks
to tap rising investor demand for railways and roads and fill a
financing gap left by retreating banks.
The world's largest asset manager said on Monday it is to
launch a European infrastructure debt division that will lend
to companies in sectors such as transportation and regulated
Infrastructure investments are increasingly popular among
pension and sovereign wealth funds and insurance companies keen
for stable, inflation-linked returns.
Research firm Preqin said $14 billion was raised by
infrastructure funds during the three months to end-September,
an increase of 33 percent over the previous quarter.
At the same time, governments are also keen to get more
pension fund cash flowing into infrastructure projects,
especially as capital-starved banks pull back from investing in
The UK government, for example, is considering allowing
local authority pension schemes to double the amount they can
legally invest in infrastructure.
BlackRock has hired a team of three - Philippe Benaroya and
Chris Wrenn, who will co-head the division, and Gilles Lengaigne
- from rival Blackstone to run the new business from
"Investors are looking for increased yield, and to exploit
new investment opportunities resulting from global
deleveraging," Matthew Botein, Head of BlackRock Alternative
Investors, said in a statement.
A number of institutional investors have sought to beef up
their infrastructure offerings this year. Aviva Investors told
Reuters last month it is preparing to launch a range of funds to
invest in infrastructure products.