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On Tuesday, DIF Capital Partners, the global private equity real assets manager with EUR 8.5 billion (just over $10 billion) in client assets under its discretion, announced that it has signed a partnership agreement with U.S. water infrastructure investor PERENfra to develop and acquire water infrastructure opportunities in North America. The partnership, which DIF is pursuing via its sixth Infrastructure fund (Infrastructure Fund VI), will focus on all areas of water for municipal and industrial uses, particularly targeting large-scale investments, as DIF and PERENfra aim to assemble a portfolio valued at more than $1.5 billion.

Announcing the deal on Tuesday, DIF emphasized PERENfra’s experienced management team, its strong network in the water sector, and its several investment opportunities already in process. DIF says its complementary expertise in development and infrastructure investment, as well as access to capital through its DIF Infrastructure Fund VI will help to accelerate the portfolio’s growth. The partnership’s investment strategy will focus on acquiring operational projects and late-stage development projects targeting water efficiency and reliability, while also providing positive social and environmental impacts.

Watershed moment?

“We are proud and excited to partner with DIF to provide essential water infrastructure in North America and beyond,” PERENfra Founder and CEO Jeff Nelson said.  “There is a transition coming in water infrastructure, and as the needs for water continue to become more complex, we have built an industry leading team with the right partners to provide safe, sustainable, efficient solutions for the long-term.”

“Significant capital is required for necessary upgrades in water infrastructure systems across North America. DIF is pleased to be partnering with the experienced specialist team at PERENfra in pursuit of critical investments in essential water infrastructure.” said Marko Kremer, Head of DIF North America.

DIF’s billions in managed client assets are deployed across nine closed-end funds and several co-investment vehicles. The company invests in greenfield and operaitonal infrastructure assets in Europe, the Americas and Australasia, either through equity investments with long-term contracted for regulated income streams (e.g. PPP’s, concessions, utilities, and renewable energy), or in small- to mid-sized assets in telecom, energy and transportation.

Last week, DIF announced that its third and fourth infrastructure funds would sell stakes in a portfolio of six European PPP (public-private partnership) assets to Equitix, a leading UK and European infrastructure fund manager.

The portfolio consists of shareholdings in a number of critical infrastructure projects that DIF invested into as primary transactions: A1/A6 Road, IJmond Sea Lock and N18 Road in the Netherlands; A7 Nord Road and Netz West Rolling Stock in Germany; as well as the KAV Vienna Hospital in Austria. With the exception of IJmond Sea Lock which is currently in the final stages of construction, all of the projects are operational under availability-based contractual structures that are backed by strong public counterparties.

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