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Babcock & Brown Raises $800 Million for US Investments

Babcock & Brown, an Australian investment and advisory firm, said on Wednesday it had raised about $800 million to buy infrastructure assets in North America.

Babcock, which competes with bigger rival Macquarie Bank, buys utilities, ports, toll roads and bundles them into listed and unlisted funds and charges management fees in return.

Babcock did not specify if the funds raised were by issue of new shares but said it would co-invest about 5 percent of the overall commitments in the new fund.

"We have obviously got the Babcock & Brown European Infrastructure Fund, and we previously indicated to the market that we are looking to raise similar funds in other regions," Babcock & Brown's chief financial officer Michael Larkin told Reuters. "But we are able to say very little specifically about this fund for U.S. legal reasons," he added.

The unlisted fund was raised from U.S. and European institutional investors, a Babcock and Brown spokeswoman said.

Babcock's European infrastructure fund was established in May and now has commitments worth 1.67 billion euros ($1.17 billion). It made its first investment in June, buying a 10 percent stake in Brisa Auto-Estradas de Portugal -- an international motorway and toll road company.

Earlier this year, Babcock's Aircraft leasing fund raised $430 million with an initial public offering.

Babcock has been operating in North America for the last 30 years and employs about 128 people, who are involved in deal origination and asset management.

It earns about 42 percent of its revenues from North America and its total funds under management stood at A$52.6 billion at the end of June.