Dexia, GIMV Launch Follow-on Infrastructure Fund

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Franco-Belgian financial services group Dexia SA (DEXI.BR) and Belgian investment firm GIMV NV (GIMV.BR) said on Saturday they were launching a second Benelux infrastructure fund for private equity investors.

Dubbed DG Infra Yield, the new fund is different from their first infrastructure initiative, DG Infra+, in that it will focus on preferential periodic cash distributions to investors, linked to a long-term yield, the two groups said.

Some 80 million euros has already been pledged to DG Infra Yield by its sponsors and investors that include financial firm Arcofin, insurer Ethias, bank VDK Spaarbank, the Flemish government and a Dutch construction sector pension fund. The fund’s first fundraising close is scheduled for September.

Together with the existing DG Infra+ fund, a 10-year fund launched in 2007, the new infrastructure fund will deliver close to 250 million euros in funding for infrastructure and related projects in the Benelux, the fund’s sponsors said.

Infrastructure has emerged as a distinct asset class in recent years, with banks such as JPMorgan (JPM.N), Citi (C.N), Macquarie (MQG.AX) and Morgan Stanley (MS.N), and buyout firms such as KKR and Blackstone (BX.N) sponsoring funds.

DG Infra Yield, a 30-year fund, will focus on public-private partnerships, selective real estate and renewable energy projects as well as transportation, information and communication technology and storage infrastructure.

Its first investment will be a 10 million euro participation in the mezzanine financing of Belgian offshore wind project Belwind, which will have a capacity of 330 megawatts once it is completed by December 2010. (Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis; Editing by Ron Popeski)