Edmond de Rothschild launches infra debt fund

The French asset manager, which has already collected €400m for the vehicle, is targeting a final close by the fourth quarter of 2014.

Edmond de Rothschild Asset Management (Rothschild) has launched its maiden infrastructure debt fund, named Benjamin de Rothschild Infrastructure Debt Generation (BRIDGE).

The vehicle, focused on senior debt, will scout for deals in France, the UK, Benelux, Germany, Austria and Scandinavia. It targets an investor base exclusively made up of French limited partners including pension funds, insurance companies and “large groups”, the firm said in a statement.

Rothschild today also announced the first closing of the fund on €400 million. The firm aims to reach a final closing in the fourth quarter of this year.

The fund, a securitisation vehicle, was set up in the form of a French regulated fonds de prêt à l’economie (fund of loans to the economy). These were created by the French government in 2013 to improve the investment opportunities open to French insurance companies.

BRIDGE’s remit include the transport, energy (including renewable energy), social infrastructure and telecoms sectors. It will invest in both greenfield and brownfield assets.

The Edmond de Rothschild Group also intends to launch a Luxembourg-regulated infrastructure debt fund in the next few months, with a view to collect funds from European institutional investors. With a target of €1 billion under management, the firm aims to become one of the largest independent players in the infrastructure debt market.

“Infrastructure funding has been a major investment theme in our family since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. My husband Benjamin and I are very proud of this pioneering role and we intend to pursue this commitment,” said Ariane de Rothschild, vice-chairman of the Edmond de Rothschild Group.

The firm’s investment team, based in London, counts eight staff. It is run by Jean-Francis Dusch, head of corporate finance at Compagnie Benjamin de Rothschild and a former financier at French developer Bouygues Construction.