By Valentine Hilaire

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican private equity manager AINDA expects to raise $600 million for a new fund by early next year and will launch projects in Colombia, its top executive told Reuters, as the company seeks to grow its portfolio of public works investments.

AINDA, which focuses on environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) projects, also aims to expand along with the Mexican government’s nearshoring push, in a bid to grow operations in its home country, CEO Manuel Rodriguez said.

Its foray into Colombia seeks to collaborate with the government’s infrastructure plans, with AINDA set to open offices in the South American country by next year’s second quarter, Rodriguez said.

In an interview, he pointed to highways and renewable energy auctions as potentially interesting investment opportunities.

“Colombia is a country with enormous potential. We have strengthened the team in recent months, with the arrival of our new Co-President Juan Carlos Echeverry, former Colombian finance minister and director of the oil firm Ecopetrol”, Rodriguez said.

In Mexico, Rodriguez emphasized potential investments in logistics, citing the Pacific ports of Manzanillo and Mazatlan, but declining to go into detail.

Water infrastructure projects could also attract the new fund’s interest, he said, pointing to some $13 billion in needed improvements in Mexico City alone, according to AINDA calculations.

In recent years, AINDA has partnered with Mexican road operator Pinfra; Aldea, a subsidiary of China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC); as well as acquiring a stake in an oil contract for the offshore Hokchi field. It won on Monday the highest place on the ESG ALAS 20 ranking.

Hernandez added that the ESG-focused fund will continue to evaluate other Mexican energy projects, citing possible investments in electricity transmission, without being more specific.

Since taking office four years ago, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has prioritized state control of oil and power markets, causing tensions with trade partners and raising concerns among investors.

But Rodriguez said he nonetheless sees opportunities to invest in “green efforts” that can compliment the government’s energy priorities.

(Reporting by Valentine Hilaire; Editing by David Alire Garcia and Stephen Coates)