Morrison & Co has raised more than US$3bn (€2.7bn) in commitments and co-investment from Australian superannuation funds and existing investors for a new open-ended global infrastructure fund.

The Morrison & Co Infrastructure Partnership (MCO IP) fund is now open to the broader international market as it continues to raise capital.

Gordon Hay, head of core Infrastructure funds at Morrison & Co, told IPE Real Assets: “The strategy of the fund is an extension of what the firm has been investing in.

“We are an early investor in the energy transition theme, data centre infrastructure and telco infrastructure.

“These sectors are continuing to mature over time, generating attractive investments at the more defensive, low-volatility end of the spectrum.”

Hay said Morrison’s current funds, including the Morrison & Co Growth Infrastructure Fund and other vehicles, such as the listed Infratil, invested in value-add and core-plus assets.

“We can use our skills in the core-plus and value-add areas to identify defensive assets that can meet our 8%-10% target return,” he said, adding that the fund would look to Europe and the US, where mature assets were more readily available.

“We have a number of assets in the pipeline across the decarbonisation, climate change and energy transition sectors, which are in an advanced stage of due diligence,” he said.

Asked to define “defensive”, Hay gave as an example the digitalisation sector. “There are three major components – data centres, fibre and cell towers,” he said, “Of these, cell towers are an established asset class in a mature market structure with highly contracted revenues.

“Fibre is more of a mixed bag, but as they roll out their customer base and become highly cash generative, they become defensive assets. Similarly, some data centres with well-established platforms have attractive long-term defensive characteristics.”

Nicole Walker, chief commercial officer at Morrison & Co, said infrastructure was becoming a more attractive asset class after showing resilience during the pandemic as interest rates stayed low, helping prompt an acceleration in investor demand.

Paul Newfield, Morrison & Co’s incoming CEO, said the successful launch of MCO IP would help accelerate the firm’s global expansion.

The New Zealand-headquartred asset manager is recruiting to boost the capability of its teams in its New York and London office and is looking to open an office in Singapore.

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