GLOBAL – France-based insurance group Axa is set to invest €10bn in infrastructure debt projects over the next five years as part of plans to find long-term investments and diversify its credit portfolio.  

Axa Real Estate, the real estate arm of Axa Investment Managers, is to manage the capital.

Axa RE will aim to underwrite infrastructure loans of up to €500m backed by assets located in established global economies, with a primary focus on core European economies.  

In a statement, company said it had already identified a “strong pipeline” of potential investments, but did not provide further details.

According to Laurent Clamagirand, Axa group CIO, the decision to increase the insurance company’s exposure to the infrastructure debt asset class was in line with its global investment strategy.

“It meets our need to find long-term investments and diversify our credit portfolio in order to match the guarantees we offer our clients, and also demonstrates the role insurance companies can play in financing the real economy,” he said.

Axa RE is currently setting up a new team to manage the allocation to the infrastructure debt asset class, which will be headed by Charles Dupont.

Dupont will report to Isabelle Scemama, who is Axa RE’s head of real asset finance.

Axa RE also intends to strengthen its infrastructure team with additional appointments expected before year-end.

Pierre Vaquier, chief executive at Axa RE, added that the new team would draw on the expertise of Axa RE’s commercial real estate debt platform launched in 2005.

In October last year, Allianz Global Investors, the asset management branch of German insurer Allianz, developed an investment-grade debt platform to participate in the structuring of new infrastructure projects.