Global investment manager Vontobel has marked its entry into infrastructure through the acquisition of a minority interest in fund manager Ancala, with the potential for a full takeover.

Vontobel is acquiring a “significant minority stake” in the London-based independent private infrastructure manager, in a deal it says diversifies its offering into the institutional private infrastructure space.

As a result of Vontobel’s stake acquisition, Ancala will become the core of Vontobel’s private markets offering for institutional clients and will continue to be run independently by its management team.

The transaction will enable clients to benefit from the potential for “diversification supported by low correlation to GDP and other major asset classes, as well as attractive risk-adjusted returns”, Vontobel said.

The agreement between the parties allows Vontobel to acquire the further remaining stakes over the longer term.

Vontobel specialises in wealth management, asset management and investment solutions, and manages €281.3bn of assets.

Ancala, with €4bn in assets under management, manages 18 assets operating in essential infrastructure sectors including renewable energy and energy transition, transport, utilities and the circular economy.

Ancala’s UK portfolio companies include Portsmouth Water, Biogen and Leep Utilities. Its other investments include majority stakes in Noventa Energy Partners, a renewable energy firm that has a pipeline of projects across Canada, the UK and the US as well as Fjord Base, a supply base in Norway that services offshore energy and renewable businesses. 

Christel Rendu de Lint, co-CEO of Vontobel, said “This stake in Ancala is an important milestone in the execution of our strategy. Providing access to the highly attractive private infrastructure market means clients can benefit from stable, uncorrelated and inflation-protected cash yields, and long-term value creation through Ancala’s active asset management and proprietary origination capabilities.”

“The company’s expertise, high-performance culture and consistent organic growth, combined with its strong reputation in the industry, are a perfect fit for Vontobel.”

Georg Schubiger, co-CEO of Vontobel, said: “With this transaction, we are diversifying our business with an asset class that has significant long-term potential, thus attractively enhancing our offering for clients. We are fully aligned with the Ancala team to further develop this business and accelerate our international ambitions.”

Spence Clunie, managing partner at Ancala, said: “Ancala is committed to a differentiated infrastructure investment strategy which delivers enhanced returns for investors looking for exposure to high-performing infrastructure investments.

“Vontobel’s minority investment provides us with additional capital to deploy our proven strategy while also retaining our independence and autonomy.”

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