According to The Australian Financial Review (today) and press release from Mitsui & Co., Ltd, Mitsui entered into an agreement with the specialist infrastructure debt funds management company Westbourne Credit Management Limited ("Westbourne", Head Office: Melbourne, Australia), to acquire a 20% equity ownership in Westbourne. As a result of this investment, Mitsui will become the first Japanese company to participate in a funds management business specializing in infrastructure debt. It is a concrete sign that under newly appointed chief executive Tatsuo Yasunaga, Mitsui is planning to expand the non-resources part of the business.
Infrastructure debt funds invest into the debt securities issued by infrastructure-related companies. The infrastructure debt funds market has grown rapidly on a global basis in recent years with the asset class offering stable and predictable returns. The institutional interest in infrastructure debt from Japanese investors is also expected to grow.
Established in Australia in 2008, Westbourne is a funds management company specializing in infrastructure debt funds management. Westbourne was established by former executives from Westpac Banking Corp-owned Hastings Funds Management, and has attracted $4 billion from 24 Australian and global clients. It intends to embark on a further capital raising when it has invested the amassed funds. The firm's local clients include the $117 billion Future Fund, Mercer Investments, Qantas Superannuation Plan and Sunsuper.
As a leading infrastructure debt funds management company, Westbourne provides investment management services for global institutional investors, including sovereign wealth funds, pension funds and the insurance sector based in East Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Australia. The capital raised from these institutional investors is being progressively invested in the debt of infrastructure-related companies, such as airports, tollroads, ports and water and energy utilities. Westbourne enjoys strong support from a number of well-regarded investment consultants.
Since 2001, Mitsui's wholly owned subsidiary, Japan Alternative Investment Co., Ltd has built a track record of sales of alternative financial instruments based on various assets. Infrastructure debt funds managed by Westbourne will also be marketed by Japan Alternative Investment to Japanese investors with the aim of offering a diverse range of investment opportunities.
Through the participation in this infrastructure debt funds management company and other initiatives, Mitsui said that Mitsui will continue to respond to the needs of investors by further strengthening our asset management activities and expanding our business platforms in Japan and overseas.
Westbourne already had an existing alliance with Mitsui subsidiary Japan Alternative Investments, designed to help the Australian firm to raise capital from Japanese pension funds, life insurance companies and government funds.
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