Saturday, June 22, 2024

Infrastructure Investor Awards 2022: Europe

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Fund Manager of the Year

First Place: EQT

Second Place: InfraVia Capital Partners
Third Place: Antin Infrastructure Partners

Over the past 12 months, EQT has been busy deploying capital from its €15.7 billion flagship fund. Key deals include Spain’s Solarpack; UK rapid EV charging company Instavolt; and Covanta, a waste-to-energy company in the US. EQT also exited a number of investments including GETEC, a German sustainable energy solutions provider, which it sold to JPMorgan’s Infrastructure Investments Fund. Since EQT first invested in GETEC in 2017, the company has embarked on a transformative journey from a German, founder-focused business to a pan-European specialist, through investment in sales and operational excellence, digital capabilities, sustainability initiatives and bolt-ons.

Equity Fundraising of the Year

First Place: iCON Infrastructure

Second Place: InfraVia Capital Partners
Third Place: Asterion Industrial Partners

UK-based iCON Infrastructure raised around $3.6 billion for its sixth flagship fund, achieving a first and final close in June 2022, just three months after officially launching the vehicle. iCON VI, which like its predecessor will invest primarily in Europe and North America, had a re-up rate of more than 97 percent. It exceeded an initial $3 billion target with commitments from pension funds, asset managers, sovereign wealth funds and insurance companies from around the world.

Deal of the Year

First Place: Autostrade per I’Italia (CDP Equity, Macquarie Asset Management, Blackstone)

Second Place: Telia Towers Partners (Brookfield Asset Management, Alecta)
Third Place: GETEC (JPMorgan Asset Management)

CDP Equity, Blackstone and Macquarie Asset Management teamed up to buy Atlantia’s 88.06 percent stake in Italian toll road operator Autostrade per I’Italia last year, in a deal worth approximately €9.3 billion. The company owns around 3,000km of toll roads across Italy under long-term concessions granted by the Italian state. The investor group plans to contribute to the implementation of an extensive investment plan covering the asset’s entire motorway network, including digitalisation and innovation, improve efficiency, maintenance, safety and performance.

Energy Deal of the Year

First Place: Aurora Infrastructure (Equitix)

Second Place: Scotia Gas Networks (Brookfield Asset Management, OTPP)
Third Place: NeuConnect (Meridiam, Allianz Capital Partners, Kansai Electric Power)

Equitix made its largest investment in Europe to date last June when it acquired Aurora Infrastructure from InfraVia Capital Partners. Aurora currently owns and operates the electricity distribution networks at two of Finland’s largest and most strategically important industrial sites, representing 6 percent of Finnish electricity consumption combined. Equitix completed the deal against the backdrop of political headwinds with the outbreak of the war in Ukraine and Finland’s subsequent announcement of its plans to join NATO, making the deal even more impressive.

Energy Transition Deal of the Year

First Place: Reden Solar (Macquarie Asset Management, British Columbia Investment Management Corporation, MEAG)

Second Place: Blue Phoenix Group (InfraVia Capital Partners)
Third Place: GreenYellow (Ardian)

The Macquarie-led consortium acquired Reden Solar, a PV developer-turned-IPP under the ownership of Eurazeo and InfraVia Capital Partners, for an enterprise value of €2.5 billion. Headquartered near Toulouse and founded in 2008, Reden Solar now owns and operates more than 750MW of generation capacity together with a 15GW development pipeline. Its core markets are France and Spain, but it has recently expanded into Greece and Italy, and is also active in Latin America. The company employs over 120 people across eight countries.

Digital Infrastructure Deal of the Year

First Place: Liberty Networks Germany (InfraVia Capital Partners, Liberty Global Ventures)

Second Place: atNorth (Partners Group)
Third Place: Adamo (Ardian)

In December 2021, InfraVia Capital Partners and the investment arm of telecoms operator Liberty Global formed a 50:50 joint venture to create a fibre-to-the-home platform in Germany, initially targeting a small number of under-served rural and suburban areas. In August last year, the new entity had begun construction with plans to serve its first customers by the end of 2022 under the helloFiber brand. More than 7,000 homes and businesses are set to benefit from gigabit connectivity, with the project scheduled for completion in the next two years. The investors will evaluate wider investment in Germany based on their success.

Transport Deal of the Year

First Place: Wascosa Holding (Vauban Infrastructure Partners, Swiss Life Asset Managers)

Second Place: Autostrade per I’Italia (CDP Equity, Macquarie Asset Management, Blackstone)
Third Place: Sotra Connection (Macquarie Capital, SK ecoplant, Webuild)

The seed asset which enabled Vauban and Swiss Life to launch a railcar leasing platform was German railcar business Aves One. Since then, the two partners have delisted Aves One and acquired Swiss railcar lessor Wascosa Holding from its family owners. The result is the creation of one of the largest railcar leasing platforms in Europe. The investors hope to benefit from a resilient rail transport market with structural tailwinds driven by an increased modal share of rail to road.

Energy Transition Investor of the Year

First Place: Ardian

Second Place: Macquarie Asset Management
Third Place: EQT

A busy year for Ardian on the energy transition front saw it close the world’s first pure-play hydrogen fund – the €2 billion Hy24, through a joint venture with FiveT Hydrogen – which had invested more than €310 million in three European companies at the time of the close. The French manager also bought a majority stake in GreenYellow, a French company specialising in decentralised solar PV production, energy efficiency and electric mobility services, in a transaction valuing the firm at €1.4 billion. And it launched its first open-ended fund dedicated to the energy transition, targeting an initial €1 billion and seeded with a 1GW portfolio spanning Europe and the Americas.

Transport Investor of the Year

First Place: Macquarie Asset Management

Second Place: Vauban Infrastructure Partners
Third Place: DIF Capital Partners

Macquarie Asset Management’s partial acquisition of Autostrade per l’Italia was probably the highest-profile European transport deal for the Australian group, but it wasn’t the only one. Macquarie Asset Management acquired UK motorway services operator Roadchef from Antin. Roadchef operates from 30 locations across the UK motorway network, serving over 52 million customers every year. Meanwhile, Macquarie Capital led a consortium in a bid for the Sotra Connection PPP, the largest road infrastructure contract to be awarded in Norway to date.

Digital Infrastructure Investor of the Year

First Place: InfraVia Capital Partners

Second Place: Brookfield Asset Management
Third Place: Ardian

Over the past year, InfraVia Capital Partners has completed four digital infrastructure transactions, joining forces with leading telecom operators and investing more than €5 billion with its partners in the sector. These deals include Liberty Networks Germany, where the firm partnered with Liberty Global; Fibre Networks Ireland where it partnered with eir; FiberForce Poland where it partnered with Play/UPC; and Opal UK where it partnered with Liberty Global and Telefonica.

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