TOKYO Dec 27 U.S. asset manager Fortress
Investment Group LLC aims to raise 200 billion yen ($1.9
billion) to set up Japan's first infrastructure fund, three
people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Friday.
Fortress plans to invest in roads, airports and other
infrastructure with money pooled in the Fortress Japan Income
Fund, said the people who declined to be named as they are not
authorized to speak to the media.
Fortress officials in Tokyo declined to comment.
The government in the past few years has been working toward
selling rights to operate public assets such as roads and
airports to reduce debt.
That pledge gained new impetus this year after the
government revised laws to allow the sale of rights to operate
The process of selling the right to operate Sendai Airport,
which was damaged by the March 2011 earthquake, to public
investors as early as next year is underway.
The sale of rights to operate New Kansai International
Airport and Osaka International Airport is also being planned.
The government in 2011 passed a law allowing New Kansai
International Airport Co, which is saddled with 1.2 trillion yen
in debt, to sell the rights as early as 2014.
Infrastructure could be an attractive alternative investment
for Japan's pension funds which are heavily weighted in Japanese
government bonds, the people said.
The Government Pension Investment Fund, the world's largest
public pension fund, will join Canada's OMERS in investing in
infrastructure abroad to diversify its portfolio, people
familiar with the matter told Reuters earlier this month.
Fortress is known in Japan as an investor in distressed
assets, which it obtains by buying underlying debt at a
discount. It aims for its new fund to provide more stable,
long-term returns, the people said.