Australian firm to target $2bn of projects in India

Babcock & Brown plans to invest in $2bn of Indian property and infrastructure assets in the next three years.

Australian asset manager Babcock & Brown has hired eight investment bankers from ABN Amro’s India unit to help it look for opportunities in India’s infrastructure and property sectors.

Sangameswaran Manikkan will lead a team of Indian nationals from Mumbai and Delhi, Sydney-based Babcock said in a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange today.

Jaginder Singh Pasricha, executive director for business development in India, told Reuters news service that the firm hoped to invest $2 billion (€1.3 billion) in Indian property and infrastructure assets over the next three years.

Babcock & Brown is planning to allocate 40 percent of its $1 billion Asia infrastructure fund to India. Pasricha told the news service that following these initial investments from its pan-Asian fund, the firm would probably look to launch an India-dedicated fund.

The Sydney-based company buys property, energy and transport assets worldwide. In November, it had a first close on $400 million for its Asian Infrastructure Fund.

The firm will have some tough competition though entering India significantly later than other big players. 3i Group closed on its $1.2 billion Indian infrastructure fund last week and on Monday Deutsche Bank’s RREEF announced it was planning to invest $1 billion in the country. Macquarie has said it is planning to raise a $2 billion India fund and IDFC Private Equity has said it is raising a $700 million infrastructure fund.