3i Group launches North American infrastructure business to expand U.S. activities

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London private equity firm 3i Group plc is establishing a U.S.-based infrastructure business, called North America Infrastructure, to access North American investment opportunities within the sector. The infrastructure sector covers the physical communications, construction, and transportation industries. 3i plans to “build a significant business in this market” and has appointed Rob Collins to lead the initiative as managing partner of the new business.

North America Infrastructure intends to fund investments initially with 3i’s balance sheet and foresees deploying third-party capital at a later date. The U.S. launch follows a successful period for 3i’s European Infrastructure business. The infrastructure business, founded in 1987, invests through four vehicles: 3i Infrastructure plc, Biff LP, Beif II LP, and 3i India Infrastructure Fund. The firm’s infrastructure segment advised 3i Infrastructure plc on new investments of approximately $593 million in its current financial year.

3i is a U.K. investment company targeting investment opportunities across Europe and North America. The PE firm, one of the oldest private equity firms in Europe, is comprised of two complementary businesses consisting of private equity and infrastructure. 3i has roots dating back to 1945. In October 2016, the firm agreed to sale its debt management business to Investcorp to focus on building its private equity and infrastructure segments. 3i’s debt management business contributed a significant role in the firm’s operating cash profit and investment returns. The deal with Investcorp closed in March 2017.

In March, President Donald Trump began mapping out a $1 trillion plan for infrastructure spending. The plan would pressure state authorities to streamline local permitting, favor renovations of existing roads over new construction, and prioritize projects that would quickly begin construction. Related deals within the sector include: GI Partners‘ purchase of data facility Komo Plaza for $276 million; Blue Wolf Capital Partners LLC’s acquisition of Tenon Holding’s North American building products business Nacs USA Inc.; and Jaguar Growth Partners’ first real estate private equity fund to target real estate investments.

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