World’s first shariah compliant data centre fund attracts $100m

Investors convinced by digitisation and the increasing importance of data to business and social networking

A joint venture between two Singapore-based organisations has raised $100 million for what is believed to be the world’s first shariah compliant data centre fund.

Keppel Data Centre Investment Management and AEP Investment Management said today they had held a first close for the Securus Data Property Fund, which they will manage jointly.

Keppel is part of marine, infrastructure and property conglomerate Keppel Corporation, which operates telecommunications services in Southeast Asia with businesses in logistics and data centres in 12 countries.

AEP Investment Management, for its part, is a private equity firm focused on the same region backed by Saudi Arabia and UAE-based real estate and financial services firm Al Rajhi Holding Group.

The vehicle is 50:50 jointly managed and will invest in both developments and income-producing assets.

In a statement, the partners said the unique feature of the Securus Fund was that it complied with the principles of Shariah investment. “We have access to a proprietary Shariah capital base in the Asian and Gulf Cooperation Council regions,” said Jonathan King, principal and director of AEP. He added: “We can create investment products attractive to Shariah capital investors.”

Nevertheless, the partners are also hoping to attract “conventional investors” looking for “ethical products”.

Demand for data centres – essentially reserve business space that is used for overflow situations or in case of emergency – is being driven by the rapid rise of information-centric trends such as ecommerce, social networking and file sharing, the partners said, with demand for space outstripping supply.

The partners said the venture was set up to address a growing need among businesses in the Middle East, in particular, however the vehicle will also make investments in Europe and Asia also.