Canadian Investment Review

de Bever: U.S. Infrastructure the Next Big Opportunity

Written by Caroline Cakebread on Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011 at 9:42 am

833982_lightbulbAimCo Chief executive, Leo de Bever gave an interview to Reuters on real estate and infrastructure investments the pension fund administrator is currently looking at.

“The only way you’re going to make money is when you identify what we call here opportunities between the cracks — things that don’t look straight down the road as core real estate, or core infrastructure, or core anything,” de Bever said.

In particular, AimCo has an eye on jurisdictions with a shortage of capital and a stable regulatory regime – and it’s avoiding infrastructure deals in places like China and India: “I can’t get my mind around investing in infrastructure in China, the chaos in India I don’t quite know how to make sense of it,” he said. AimCo is however interested in emerging markets in Latin America, Chile and Brazil in particular.

This summer, de Bever could be watching closely for brown outs and black outs across the U.S. where aging infrastructure is taking its toll. 1970s-era electricity, sewage and water infrastructure in North America is a risk and at some point it will need to be rebuilt or refurbished.

“We’re talking about two or three hundred billion dollars across North America, so there are opportunities there,” he said.

“My guess is that it will take another one or two blackouts before people finally say ‘OK, we get the story. We’re going to have to spend some money there and we’re going to have to make some approvals for capital to go in there’.”

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