Darby Overseas Investments Ltd, the private equity unit of Franklin Resources Inc., will finish raising the first $150 million this month for a fund that will invest in Colombian infrastructure, fund chief Jorge Castellanos said.
The fund, called FINTRA, is run jointly with Bogota-based financial holding firm Mercantil Colpatria SA and will raise a total of $300 million within a year to finance transportation projects, Castellanos said in an interview in Bogota yesterday.
“We hope to have the first $150 million by the end of this month,” said Castellanos, the former head of Bancafe, the nation’s largest state lender until it was sold in 2006. “Once we do the first close we’re ready to invest.”
Private equity funds are raising money as President Alvaro Uribe increases infrastructure spending to pull the South American country from the first recession in a decade. FINTRA, Darby’s first fund focused on investing mainly in Colombia, has identified about 10 projects including energy generation, airports and highways, Castellanos said.
Darby and Colpatria raised money from pension funds and insurance companies in Colombia for the first stage of the fund, and expects to lure foreign investors when they begin seeking the additional $150 million, said Castellanos. Investors will get their money back, including returns, in 10 years, he said.
(Andrea Jaramillo, Bloomberg)