Australian pedigree

Ex-citigroup project finance pro christopher Beale has raised $3bn for his firm's debut infrastructure fund.

New York- and London-based Alinda Capital Partners has raised $3 billion (€2.3 billion) for its debut infrastructure fund. The Alinda Infrastructure Fund I had an original target of $1 billion, according to its placement agent, CP Eaton Partners, but raised its cap to accommodate investor demand.

Firm head Christopher Beale said the vehicle will look at investments in transportation and energy infrastructure in North America and Europe, including roads, bridges, tunnels, airports, water supply, waste transport, gas storage and pipelines.

“We sensed that there is a rapidly growing opportunity for private capital to invest in infrastructure assets,” Beale said. “Historically, governments have provided most of the money for infrastructure investment.”

Beale is the former head of infrastructure finance and project finance at Citigroup. Before that, he was global head of project finance at Morgan Stanley and CSFB, as well as chairman of Beale Lynch Capital Partners, a private investment firm in New York.

“I grew up in a resource-rich country,” he says of his native Australia, which was at the forefront of the infrastructure asset class and has produced many of the industry's leaders. “I wanted to learn how to finance natural resources investment.”

Joining Beale in his endeavors are a group of former Citigroup pros, including Simon Riggall, the former European head of project finance at the financial firm who is based in London, and New York-based partners Sanjay Khettry and John Laxmi. “We collectively were at the forefront of the trends and development in the infrastructure market in the US and globally,” Beale says of the Citigroup team. Rounding out the partnership is Philip Dyk, the former president of Ahlstrom Capital.

Alinda, which was founded in August 2005, commenced fundraising shortly thereafter and has already committed one-third of the fund's capital. Alinda owns the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, toll bridges in Alabama, natural gas distribution utilities in several Western states and an income fund in Canada that owns residential hot water tanks. The firm has also committed capital to an undisclosed, debut European deal.

Earlier this year, the firm worked with GE Energy Financial Services to acquire Kinder Morgan Retail, the US natural gas retail distribution business of Kinder Morgan, for $710 million.