Boutique trade finance provider Bachmann & Welser is to launch a US$2bn project finance fund, targeting Asia, Africa and parts of the Middle East.

The fund will be launched in March to coincide with the opening of the firm’s Asia office in Hong Kong, and GTR understands that it is fully-capitalised, backed predominantly by investors from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The investors are both private and institutional.

The B&W global project finance fund will target projects in the energy and tourism space, and there are already discussions in Thailand and Vietnam about funding projects there. In Thailand, the company is in negotiations with Credit Suisse about taking a slice of a project the bank has originated.

“We have some good backers who came forward at the start of this year. We thought this would be a good time to launch: we have the rest of the year ahead of us, so we can get some things done. It’s not to coincide with any event, it just so happens we have the facility in place at the time and thought it would be prudent to come out with it now,” Jeremy Brown, a director at the company, tells GTR.

Bachmann & Welser has existed for a number of years, Brown says, providing services such as standby letters of credit out of the Comoros, where it was domiciled. However it more recently opened UK premises in Edinburgh. It has also been providing project financing, in Africa, Asia and South America.

According to the Asian Development Bank, infrastructure needs in developing Asia alone will exceed US$1.5tn per year to 2030. The 45 countries covered in a report by the bank are experiencing severe infrastructural deficits, with 400 million people lacking access to electricity, 300 million without access to safe drinking water and 1.5 billion lacking access to basic sanitation.

The ADB says that on top of this, “many economies in the region lack adequate ports, railways, and roads that could connect them efficiently to larger domestic and global markets”.

“We are pleased to be able to channel this funding to businesses and organisations that can really deliver on promises. It is vitally important that we assist our clients with interventions of such kind. We hope to increase the size of the fund by the end of this financial year,” says Bachmann & Welser CEO, Edward Bachmann.