Mariner Launches Infrastructure Fund, Buys Italian Risk

Jan 22 2014 | 1:48pm ET

Mariner Investment Group's new infrastructure business has made its first deal, assuming some of the risk on a US$1.2 billion portfolio of Italian loans.

Two Mariner funds—including its new Mariner Infrastructure Investment Management, which recently debuted with about US$450 million in assets—bought junior and mezzanine notes backed by loans to Italian energy companies from UniCredit. Neither side would disclose the value of the deal, the first for the new Mariner business, but both expressed hopes that it would not be the last.

Mariner said it would like to add more exposure to Italy and UniCredit said it could do similar deals with Mariner. "The transaction signals a strong interest of foreign investors for Italian assets," the bank said.

The deal frees up capital for UniCredit to make further infrastructure loans in Italy while complying with Italian and international banking regulations.

"The magnitude of the capital requirements for banks substantially exceeds available capacity in equity markets," Mariner's Andrew Hohns said. "Banks are currently developing alternative strategies to meet these stringent new demands, and this business initiative is designed to be a flexible partner to banks to assist them in meeting the new requirements."


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