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JPMorgan Asian infrastructure fund holds $500m first close

The US investment bank continues to enhance its private equity activities in the region, closing on one-third of the capital it is raising for a pan-Asian infrastructure fund.

JPMorgan Asset Management's Asian Infrastructure and Related Resources Opportunity Fund has held a first close on $500 million (€333 million), a market source has confirmed.

It will focus on investments in China, India and other Southern Asian countries, and this month will close its first two investments, one in India and one in China.

The fund's target is $1.5 billion, $75 million of which will come from the investment bank's balance sheet, according to a May 2008 Dow Jones report. It aims to achieve an internal rate of return of 19 percent, and will consider both operational and developmental projects, the report said.

The Asian infrastructure fund augments the firm's India Infrastructure Fund, which was launched late last year and is targeting $2 billion, according to a whitepaper on Asia's private equity market published by Probitas Partners.

Those funds are in addition to an open-ended global infrastructure fund JPMorgan also launched in 2007, as well as a $750 million Asia Pacific mid-market private equity fund the firm set up in February after recruiting the entire team of TVG Capital Partners. The latter fund is part of the firm's Private Equity Principal Investments business, which is headed by Bob Case in New York, while the others referenced fall under the bank's infrastructure investment arm.

JPMorgan set up its infrastructure arm in February 2006, tapping Mark Weisdorf, former head of alternative investments at the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, as its global chief investment officer.

The firm said at the time it established the division to “to provide institutional investors access to an emerging alternative asset class, which aims to deliver stable and predictable cash returns that grow in relation to inflation over the long-term.”

It also noted its infrastructure team would be aligned with its global real estate team, overseen by Joe Azelby, which earlier this year closed a $600 million Greater China Property Fund. It closed a similar property fund, dedicated to India, on roughly $360 million in 2006.