A BlackRock infrastructure fund has purchased a 30% stake in AirFirst, an industrial gas supplier in South Korea, for around KRW1trn (€690m), including approximately KRW60bn to fund AirFirst’s future expansions.

BlackRock entered an agreement with IMM Private Equity, “introducing” it to be a global partner for AirFirst and to provide necessary funding for the Korean company’s continued growth.

BlackRock said the investment was made through a private fund managed by BlackRock which invests in diversified infrastructure assets globally.

AirFirst was established in 2019 when IMM PE acquired the industrial gas division of Linde Korea. It primarily supplies nitrogen and oxygen from atmospheric air. These are essential inputs to South Korea’s massive and thriving semiconductor and chemical sectors.

Edward Winter, managing director of BlackRock’s infrastructure business, said: “Industrial gases are a critical component to the manufacturing and production of advanced materials in the chemical, semiconductor, battery and electric vehicle sectors, creating growth opportunities.

“As the sector increasingly focusses on decarbonisation and energy efficiency, new investment opportunities are expected to emerge.”

BlackRock said AirFirst had a leading market position in South Korea and operates under long-term contracts with inflation protection across a diversified portfolio of industrial customers.

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