Victorian Funds Management Corporation has not only completed its first Australian direct infrastructure deal, but has contracted the former head of infrastructure investments at Abbey National to be its eyes and ears in Europe.

Penny Graham, an Australian who’s been living in the UK for a decade, began contracting to the VFMC a month ago after a period off raising a young family, according to VFMC’s joint head of private markets, Andrew Elliott. “;We’re increasingly looking at direct deals or co-investments all around the world. We do a fair bit of travel from here but it really helps to have someone on the ground to meet potential deal partners face to face,”; he said. The addition of Graham, a director of Sydney Airport before its sale to Macquarie Bank, makes VFMC’s private markets team, co-headed by David Brown, nine strong. VFMC’s first direct infrastructure purchase, a 19.6 per cent stake in Birmingham Airport, was struck last September. Late last month its first Australian deal was consummated – a $205 million purchase of the North Queensland Gas Pipeline from AGL/Arrow Energy, which will continue to operate and maintain the asset.

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