BlackRock nears close on Colombian infrastructure fund

BlackRock nears close on Colombian infrastructure fund

Colombia Funds Structured Finance US Project & Infrastructure Finance

BlackRock is expected to finish raising COP1tn ($337m) for an infrastructure debt fund in Colombia by the end of Q1 this year, LatinFinance has heard.

At least two funds are raising money for infrastructure investments in Colombia, but BlackRock is the nearest to closing, sources said. BlackRock declined to comment.

SMBC and BTG Pactual are building a 25-year infrastructure fund, while the IFC is creating a $500m local bond program to finance infrastructure projects in Colombia.

SMBC and BTG Pactual are taking longer than expected to raise between $300m and $400m for the fund, due to the effects of the Odebrecht bribery scandal in the infrastructure market in Colombia, sources said.

The BlackRock fund could provide financing to the Antioquia-Bolivar toll road PPP, while the SMBC-BTG Pactual fund could help pay for construction of the Autopista al Mar 2 concession, among other toll roads in Colombia's 4G program,  

Three infrastructure debt funds already exist in Colombia – a 25-year, COP2bn fund from regional development bank CAF and emerging markets investor Ashmore Group, a 23-year, COP1.26bn fund from Sura Asset Management and Credicorp Capital and a 25-year, COP1bn from Exponencial.

CAF-Ashmore I led the financing for the Transversal del Sisga concession in July last year, when it contributed COP240bn to an 18-year, COP630bn loan. Infrastructure funds in Colombia have also funded Pacifico 3 and Costera in the 4G program.