Infrastructure debt is trending upward, with firms ramping up their credit assets under management. That is particularly evident in the Infrastructure Debt 15 ranking, PDI sister title Infrastructure Investor’s list of the top debt fundraisers in the asset class.

This is the second time Infrastructure Investor is publishing this list, and a comparison with the first edition is instructive. Managers made it into the first instalment top 10 by raising $1.6 billion. This time round, a firm would need $2.5 billion to make the top 10.

The first $1 billion fundraiser now pops up at number 15, which is why the list has been expanded by 50 percent this time round, to cover managers that have raised at least $1 billion in third-party capital between 1 January 2014 and 31 August 2019.

The top 10 in the first edition raised $59.8 billion in just over five years. The second edition top 10 have raised $74.9 billion – an increase of some 25 percent. The entire Infrastructure Debt 15 ranking has raised $83.8 billion in total.

Of the top 15, 60 percent are based in Europe, just as 60 percent of the first 10 had been. The top two firms are based in the US, but only one other manager in the ranking has its headquarters in North America – in Canada, rather than the US. There are three Australian managers on the list, but the other nine are all based in Europe. Of those, four list their headquarters as being in London and three in Paris.

Lower down the list is where the growth has been concentrated; there is far less expansion at the top. Last time round, EIG Global Energy Partners was top with $11.5 billion raised; this time it is BlackRock with $11.7 billion. BlackRock was second last time, and the previous top dog, EIG, is this year’s runner-up. Movement, as well as growth, is limited.

Three firms rank in the same position as in the first edition: AXA Investment Managers – Real Assets, Westbourne Capital and Edmond de Rothschild Asset Management, in fourth, sixth and ninth place respectively.

One of the joys of an expanded list, however, is that it brings new names into the fold. IFM Investors joins the party, breaking into the top 10 in the process. Schroders is another new entrant to the top 10. Vantage Infrastructure, La Banque Postale Asset Management and Brookfield Asset Management all missed the cut last time but join the expanded ranking. If infrastructure debt continues to progress at its current rate, it won’t be long until Infrastructure Investor is forced to expand its list to 20.

Graphic of Investor's Infrastructure Debt 15

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How II compiled the Infrastructure Investor Debt 15

The ranking methodology explained

What counts?
Structures
Limited partnerships
Open-ended vehicles (capital must be raised within the specified dates)
Co-investment funds
Separate accounts
Capital raised by infrastructure managers that happen to be publicly traded
Seed capital and GP commitment

Strategies
Debt strategies
Mezzanine funds
Financing of existing assets (brownfield), development-phase assets (greenfield) or a mix of both

What does not count?
Expected capital commitments
Public funds
Contributions from sponsoring entities
Capital raised for funds of funds
Capital raised for infrastructure funds that seek to own assets for a period of time
Secondaries vehicles
Real estate funds
Private equity funds
Equity funds: core, core-plus, value-add, opportunistic
Hedge funds
Capital raised on a deal-by-deal basis
Leverage
Private Investment in Public Equity investments

The Infrastructure Investor Debt 15 ranking is based on the amount of direct infrastructure debt investment capital raised by firms between 1 January 2014 and 31 August 2019.

Where two firms have raised the same amount of capital over this period, the higher ranking goes to the firm with the largest active pool of capital raised since 2014 (the biggest single fund). If there is still a ‘tie’ after taking into account the size of a single fund, we give greater weight to the firm that has raised the most capital within the past one or two years.

The highest priority is given to information that we receive from or confirm with the infrastructure managers themselves. When firms confirm details, we seek to ‘trust but verify’. Some details simply cannot be verified by us, and in these cases we defer to the honour system.

In order to encourage co-operation from firms that might make the Infrastructure Investor Debt 15, Infrastructure Investor do not disclose which firms have aided it on background and which have not. Lacking confirmation of details from the firms themselves, Infrastructure Investor seeks to corroborate information using firms’ websites, press releases, limited partner disclosures and other sources.

Defining infrastructure debt

The definition of infrastructure debt investing, for the purposes of this ranking, means capital raised through fund structures for the purpose of providing debt financing to tangible, physical assets, whether these be existing (brownfield) or development-phase (greenfield). Capital must be raised in dedicated funds, and Infrastructure Investor cannot include large one-off investments in the asset class made on an opportunistic basis. There are certainly grey areas with regard to these parameters, but Infrastructure Investor has taken pains to ensure that the capital counted for the purposes of the ranking falls within our definition to the furthest extent possible.

Quantifying capital raised

This means capital definitively committed to an infrastructure direct investment programme. In the case of a fundraising, it means the fund has had a final or official interim close after 1 January 2014. Infrastructure Investor might count the full amount of a fund if it has a close after this date, or the full amount of an interim close – a real one, not a ‘soft-circle’ – that has occurred recently, even if no official announcement has been made. We also count capital raised through co-investment vehicles.