Industry Funds Management (IFM) announced today the opening of IFM’s new office in Berlin, which will further strengthen the firm’s relationships with its strategic investment partners and like-minded long-term investors in Europe.
IFM Executive Director Lars Bespolka will head up the office, having joined IFM five years ago following a 15-year career in investment banking. Mr Bespolka was previously based in IFM’s New York office.
“Europe is a core growth market for IFM as a global investment manager,” IFM CEO Brett Himbury said.
“Our Berlin office is reflective of our commitment to the market, and being on the ground locally will help build our presence in the region and maintain strong, long term relationships.”
In Germany, IFM has an existing stake in 50Hertz Transmission, one of the four electricity transmission system operators in the country, which supplies power to more than 18 million people and companies.
“We are a hands-on infrastructure manager, focused on ensuring the long-term viability and value of those companies in which we invest,” IFM’s Global Head of Infrastructure Kyle Mangini said.
“IFM will work closely with 50Hertz Transmission in the implementation of its €4 billion (US$5.2 billion) capital investment programme, which is fundamental to the success of the Energiewende currently ongoing in Germany.
“We see strong potential for additional investment opportunities in Germany and neighbouring countries over the next few years. In addition to those in the regulated gas and electricity transmission and distribution businesses, we also see opportunities in the transport, gas storage and other infrastructure sectors. Furthermore, we recognise the significant increased interest in our fund from German investors.”
IFM has also appointed Dr Uwe Franke as a Senior Adviser for its expansion into the German speaking market. Mr Franke has over 30 years’ experience in the oil and gas sector, having joined BP PLC in 1979. Most recently, Mr Franke was Chief Executive of BP Europa SE, before retiring in April 2012. Mr Franke has also served as Chairman of Mineralölwirtschaftsverband, the German national oil industry association, and serves as non-executive director of Hoyer GmbH and Basalt AG.
IFM opened its first European office in 2006 in London, United Kingdom, which has grown to over 20 employees following a significant increase in funds under management. IFM is currently invested in five European assets: 50Hertz Transmission, Anglian Water, Arqiva Limited, Dalkia Polska and Manchester Airports Group (M.A.G). IFM acquired its 35.5% strategic stake in M.A.G in February 2013, following M.A.G’s successful bid to acquire London Stansted Airport for £1.5 billion (A$2.3 billion, €1.8 billion). IFM is also expanding its infrastructure debt capability into the UK and Europe with the appointment of David Cooper as Investment Director in December 2012.