DIF Infrastructure II holds first close on €200m

The European Union-focused infrastructure fund is expected to hold a second close early next year. DIF’s first infrastructure fund, DIF PPP, is now almost fully invested and its renewable energy fund is expected to be fully invested by the first quarter of 2009.

Dutch infrastructure fund manager DIF has held an initial close in its second European infrastructure fund on €200 million.

DIF Infrastructure II, the successor fund to DIF’s two previous funds, DIF PPP and DIF Renewable Energy, will focus on transportation infrastructure assets, socio-economic public private partnership assets and other private-sector contracted essential infrastructures such as pipelines and power generation assets.

The investments will be focused on the 27 member states of the European Union. Additionally, up to 30 percent of the fund will be dedicated to the renewable energy sector.

The fund is targeted at €500 million with a hard cap of €750 million. Current investors include Dutch pension funds ABP, Stichting Pensioenfonds DSM Nederland, Stichting Pensioenfonds SABIC, Stichting Pensioenfonds voor de Grafische Bedrijven, SPF Beheer and the European Investment Bank. A second closing is expected in the first quarter of 2009.

ABP and SPF Beheer are new investors in DIF’s funds, whereas Pensioenfonds DSM Nederland, Stichting Pensioenfonds Sabic and the European Investment Bank have now invested in all three of DIF’s funds. Stichting Pensioenfonds voor de Grafische Bedrijven is alsoalso is a repeat investor.

“We are very happy that in these turbulent financial times we were able to close with this group of institutional investors who all have a real track record in investing in infrastructure funds,” said Jean-Pierre Sweerts, managing director at DIF.

Sweerts said the fund has a ten-year lifespan. He added that DIF’s investors are very happy with this duration as their core focus is getting stable, predictable cashflows over the life of the fund.

DIF’s first infrastructure fund, DIF PPP, is focused on investments in public private partnerships across Western Europe. It closed in 2006 on €150 million, which has now been almost fully invested.

To date, DIF PPP has invested in 14 assets in the Netherlands, the UK, France and Scandinavia, with further investment commitments outstanding in those and other countries.

DIF’s other operational fund, DIF Renewable Energy, had final close in September on €134 million. The fund focuses on European renewable energy projects in Europe, primarily on-shore wind. It is currently about 70 percent invested and is expected to be fully invested by the first quarter of 2009, Sweerts said.

DIF was founded by entrepreneurs Maarten Koopman and Menno Witteveen, who, together with former PricewaterhouseCoopers partner Wim Blaasse formed the management team of DIF in 2005.

Headquartered in the Netherlands, it also has offices in France, the UK and Germany.