Blackstone plans to invest $40 bn in infrastructure projects

22 May 2017


Blackstone Group LP, the world's biggest private equity manager and Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund,  Public Investment Fund,  announced plans on Saturday to invest $40 billion in infrastructure projects, mostly in the US.

The announcement came as president Trump visited Saudi Arabia on his first foreign trip after becoming president.

Blackstone, founded by Trump supporter Stephen Schwarzman, has signed a non-binding memorandum with Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) for the project.

According to Blackstone, PIF had committed $20 billion to the project.

The project "reflects our positive views around the ambitious infrastructure initiatives being undertaken in the United States as announced by President Trump," PIF's managing director Yasir al-Rumayyan said, Reuters reported.

"This will create well-paying American jobs and will lay the foundation for stronger long-term economic growth," Blackstone president Hamilton James said.

Besides Blackstone, two other US companies, Lockheed Martin and General Electric have, have announced business deals with Saudi Arabia.

''There is broad agreement that the United States urgently needs to invest in its rapidly aging infrastructure,'' Blackstone president Tony James said in a statement.

According to commentators, thanks to increasing investor interest, infrastructure financing is attracting increasing investments. Brookfield Asset Management Inc scored $14 billion last year for a pool dedicated to the strategy, and in January, Global Infrastructure Partners, topped it with $15.8 billion.

Blackstone pointed to its initiative in the direction in January, when its global head of private equity described what it would take to be a meaningful investor in infrastructure.

''To be relevant in that end of the market I think you need to be deploying billions of dollars at a time, not hundreds of millions, and so you're probably talking about a vehicle that's $20 billion, $30 billion, $40 billion dollars of equity,'' Joe Baratta said then in an interview on Bloomberg Television.

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