Equity funds in crowded hunt for infrastructure returns
It is hard to find an asset class for which equity and debt appetite differ quite so starkly as they do for infrastructure. Only real estate really compares. While projects struggle to raise sufficient debt at any price, equity sponsorship is an embarrassment of riches. “The number of infrastructure equity funds on the road grows each year,” observes Richard Abadie, global head of infrastructure at PwC in London. “Furthermore, funds have significant amounts of dry powder – this is consistently the case in infrastructure.”
Lured by high-profile government infrastructure investment programmes and growing asset churn by utilities themselves, equity investors have flooded into the space. Many banks have spun their infrastructure funds off into standalone entities – for example, Eiser Infrastructure Partners was spun out of RBS/ABN Amro, and Antin Infrastructure Partners came out of BNP Paribas. HSBC’s specialist investments arm became InfrRed Capital Partners in May last year after a management buyout.