OPIC nears PE investment mandate as House passes legislation

President Trump is likely to pass the BUILD Act into law after the bill goes back to the Senate for review.

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation is one step closer to becoming a private equity investor after the House of Representatives passed its version of a bill that seeks to modernise the agency.

The development finance institution said the legislation, known as the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development Act, or BUILD Act, will go back to the Senate, which passed its own version late last month.

One of the bill’s main goals is to broaden OPIC’s scope of investment to private equity, rather than just debt and insurance underwriting. Part of its investment focus would remain on fostering economic growth in less-developed nations through financial support in the private sector, and its name would change to US International Development Finance Corporation.

OPIC has been working with private equity firms under its current mandate. On Tuesday, it announced a commitment of as much as $50 million to a real estate fund in Colombia managed by Avenida Capital for the development of low and middle-income housing and sustainable commercial and mixed-use projects in urban parts of the South American nation.

The legislation is likely to be passed into law by President Trump, who wants to use the agency to advance the foreign policy interests of the US. The White House said the new agency would work with the State Department and the US Agency for International Development, which is expected to reduce duplicate efforts in development finance programs.