May 23, 2019 / 2:31 PM / 2 months ago

BlackRock infrastructure chief 'wary' of UK utilities investment risk

FILE PHOTO: A sign for BlackRock Inc hangs above their building in New York U.S., July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - The global head of infrastructure investing at BlackRock, the world’s biggest asset manager, said he would be “very wary” of investing in UK utilities given the rising threat of nationalization under a Labour government.

Jim Barry, chief investment officer of BlackRock Alternative Investors, which manages more than $175 billion, said investor sentiment had taken a hit and caution was warranted.

“I’d be very wary at this juncture about committing any capital, debt or equity, to the UK utilities space,” said Barry, who is also the company’s global head of real assets. “They’re all well-capitalised as it stands, but it has added a risk.”

Britain’s main opposition Labour Party has laid out plans to take control of some key strategic assets including water, energy and transport if it managed to prise power from Theresa May’s Conservative government.

Barry’s team of more than 900 staff invest in real estate, infrastructure, hedge funds, private equity and private credit.

Reporting by Simon Jessop; editing by Sinead Cruise

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