WSIB commits $750m to Warburg

Washington State Investment Board has invested $3.3bn in eight Warburg Pincus funds since 1994.

The Washington State Investment Board has approved an investment of up to $750 million in Warburg Pincus Private Equity XII.

The commitment is WSIB’s third of this size to Warburg Pincus following an investment of $750 million in Warburg Pincus Private Equity X in October 2007 and another $750 million in Warburg Pincus Private Equity XI in May 2012.

The WSIB has a 20-year partnership with Warburg, and since 1994 has invested $3.3 billion in eight previous funds, according to a spokesperson.

WSIB has committed more than $750 million to only one other fund manager. KKR received $1.5 billion from WSIB for its KKR Millennium Fund in December 2002, and another $1.5 billion for its KKR 2006 Fund in September 2006.

As of 30 June, WSIB had allocated 22.04 percent of its portfolio, equivalent to $17.75 billion, to private equity, slightly below its 25 percent target.

Its private equity second-quarter return was 4.9 percent, outperforming its Russell 3000 benchmark, according to its quarterly investment report. As of 31 March, there were $11.1 billion in unfunded commitments.

The pension fund favors mega buyout funds, which had the biggest portion of its fund distribution at 30 percent.

At the same investment committee meeting, the board approved an investment of AUD 250 million ($184 million; €162 million) to Laguna Bay Agricultural Fund 1, with a possibility of additional AUD 50 million, if total fund commitments exceed AUD 1 billion, the spokesperson said.

This is the first partnership between the WSIB and Laguna Bay, whose Fund 1 will invest in upstream agriculture assets in Australia and New Zealand.