AMP nears first close on $750m Asian infrastructure fund

Sydney-based AMP Capital Investors is backing an Indian road construction company, its maiden investment from an India- and China-focused infrastructure fund it is raising.

AMP Capital, an Australian investment manager, expects to hold a first close on 29 August for its Asian Giants Infrastructure Fund, which is targeting $750 million (€487 million).

Focused on investments in India and China, the fund has done its first deal with a $25 million investment in Gayatri Infra Ventures, an Indian road BOT (Build Operate Transfer) company.

Gayatri Infra Ventures is a newly created subsidiary of construction company Gayatri Projects. It is developing a toll road and is engaged in four BOT projects. It is also actively bidding for additional road concessions, the firm said.

AGIF will focus on social, industrial and urban infrastructure and will invest primarily in unlisted companies that are engaged in the development, ownership or operation of infrastructure and infrastructure-related facilities in sectors such as transport, power and energy, and telecommunications.

AMP Capital said in a statement that 70 percent of the fund will be invested in India and China and no more than 30 percent of the capital will be allocated to other countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Korea and Hong Kong. The fund is targeting an IRR of at least 20 percent.

Philip Garling, global head of infrastructure at AMP Capital, said in a statement: “Rapid urbanisation and population growth are driving the need for growth in social and economic infrastructure. Accordingly, the infrastructure spend requirement in Asia is estimated to be three times higher than the global average.”

He added that countries in Asia are expected to invest heavily in the infrastructure sector in the future, and as a result, there will be increased investment opportunities in this space in Asia for private investors.

AMP Capital has more than A$104 billion ($95 billion; €61.5 billion) of assets under management and A$3.5 billion in infrastructure investments in Asia-Pacific and Europe as of 31 March 2008. It has been investing in Asian infrastructure since 1994 and in India since 1999.