KKR targets $4bn for debut infrastructure fund

Despite the departure of George Bilicic as its head of infrastructure, the buyout shop is forging ahead with plans for its foray into the asset class.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts is targeting $4 billion for its debut infrastructure fund, according to updated 2008 fundraising data released by San Francisco placement agent Probitas Partners.

The fundraising effort follows an important hire in Europe and a notable departure in North America. In November 2008, the buyout shop tapped Jesús Olmos Clavijo, formerly the managing director for corporate development at Spain’s largest utility, Endesa, to head its European infrastructure initiative. In October 2008, New York-based George Bilicic, formerly the head of infrastructure at the buyout giant, left to rejoin investment bank Lazard after less than six months with KKR.

In May, KKR made public plans to launch a global infrastructure initiative. Since then it has been busy building up its infrastructure team, adding Bill Bryson, John Brookout and Clint Johnstone as advisors and former Skanska Infrastructure Development chief executive officer John Hipperson as a senior team member.

The infrastructure fundraising effort coincides with other significant changes at the firm. KKR, which ranks fourth in the PEI 50 proprietary ranking of the largest private equity firms, has been growing and expanding into new business lines like real estate, mezzanine financing and asset management as it prepares to go public this year.

Probitas listed the target of the infrastructure fund at $10 billion in its October listing of funds in the market or thought coming to market in the next 12 months. 

As reported in the December/January issue of Private Equity International, market sources have previously pegged the fund target much closer to $5 billion. The actual target is now known to be approximately $4 billion.

LP advisors unconnected to KKR say they have yet to see a private placement memorandum emerge for its infrastructure fundraising effort.

KKR declined to comment.