3i Is Seeking Up to $1.5 Billion for Infrastructure Fund

(Bloomberg) -- 3i Group Plc is seeking as much as $1.5 billion for its first U.S. infrastructure fund, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

Representatives of the London-based firm have begun speaking with investors about a so-called value-added, middle-market strategy and annualized returns net of fees in the mid-to-high teens, said the person, who asked not to be named because the matter is private. 3i itself is contributing $300 million as an anchor investor, the person said. A 3i representative declined to comment.

In October, 3i announced its first North American infrastructure deal, taking a majority stake in Smarte Carte Inc., which provides airport baggage carts and self-storage lockers in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and elsewhere. Then in April, Smarte Carte bought Aviation Mobility, which provides legally mandated wheelchairs that are leased by airlines in the U.S. The company will be moved into the fund once it’s raised, the person said.

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3i, which is publicly traded, also has a listed European infrastructure fund, 3i Infrastructure Plc. The North American fund will not be public, in part due to investor preferences, the person said.

The firm is raising capital even as President Donald Trump has yet to deliver on a promise to facilitate the investment of as much as $1.7 trillion in infrastructure in the next decade.

The fundraising comes some 15 months after 3i formally launched its North American infrastructure business, hiring Rob Collins from Hastings Funds Management. Hastings, which was acquired by London-based Northill Capital LLP, has since rebranded as Vantage Infrastructure.

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