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Mariner Investment Group, a US-based global alternative asset manager, announced on Monday that it has launched Mariner Infrastructure Investment Management (MIIM), a unit to invest in infrastructure debt.
MIIM serves as portfolio manager for two investment vehicles: the International Infrastructure Finance Company Fund, LP, a $350 million comingled fund (IIFC), and Mariner Breakwater, LP, a $100 million fund-of-one.
MIIM aims to take leveraged exposure to loans, bonds, and other debt instruments associated with global infrastructure, energy, and transportation assets.
Mariner established MIIM in an effort to capitalize on the opportunity set created by two significant investment themes: (1) tightened Basel III standards which have caused a dramatic shortfall in regulatory capital at banks, likely to persist over the next several years, and (2) an urgent need for additional infrastructure finance in markets around the globe.
The MIIM team's primary investment strategy will provide credit protection against certain losses in specific infrastructure loan portfolios. Mariner selects assets for these investments based on strict credit underwriting criteria, coordinated by a highly experienced in-house team with significant infrastructure investment expertise.
Bracebridge Young, Mariner's Chief Executive Officer, said:
"Our new infrastructure investment mandates provide global project finance banks with innovative, customized, and attractive solutions for the management of risk weighted assets in their infrastructure, power, and transport loan books, thereby addressing a critical and unmet need within the financial sector. We're hopeful that the uptake will be strong; on the back of IIFC's initial close, we have already completed our first investment with a major European project finance bank."
In fact, UniCredit announced yesterday it had sold some of the risk on a €910 million ($1.2 billion) portfolio of Italian project finance loans to two funds managed by Mariner Investment Group.Andrew Hohns, Managing Director at Mariner Investment Group and leader of MIIM, said:
"We would be happy to look at taking more exposure in Italy. We have discussions going on with a range of institutions, some of them are in Italy, and we hope these will evolve in a good way."
Andrew Hohns oversees a group of six dedicated investment professionals with more than 90 years of combined experience in infrastructure finance.
Investors to the initial products of MIIM include a diverse group of institutional investors, including public and private pension funds, a large charitable trust, and affiliates of Mariner for their own accounts. Over a half dozen institutional investors participated in the initial capitalization of the vehicles, the majority of which are first time investors with Mariner.