REAL ESTATE - Macquarie Bank and Swiss private bank Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch (LODH) have launched a joint infrastructure investment vehicle aimed at Swiss and other European pension funds as well as high net worth investors.

LODH head of investment Serge Ledermann said the fund, which will be distributed in Europe, offered "an attractive and unique" vehicle for direct investment in privatised infrastructure assets.

The fund will be around 75% invested in mature European markets, with the balance in North America and Asia. "There are attractive opportunities in Switzerland, but I don’t see any Swiss projects at the moment," said Ledermann.

"We’ll invest in mature Europe – we’re looking at revenues, not greenfield. We want to provide yield from day one."

Swiss real estate has in the past provided few ready-built acquisition opportunities for pension funds. One of the largest, Publica, last June invested €70m in the development of 240 new residential units in a new housing quarter of Basle after the local government indicated an urgent need for development to avoid a housing crisis.

Ledermann added that LODH had not ruled out more joint ventures. "Partnership is essential for experience, knowledge and networks in the markets," he said. "Otherwise, it would take so much time and resources just to scratch the surface that it would be useless."

The fund’s first closing earlier this month attracted CHF 386m (€236m) from mainly private banking clients. However, Ledermann said it was working on a second closing in May that would attract institutional investors.

"The process is longer for institutional investors and we wanted to give them more time," said Ledermann. "Institutions tend to invest more money in projects and they want the fund to be of a certain size so they don’t own more than around 10%."