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Opportunity Plus

Understanding the opportunities and risks of core, core+ and core++ infrastructure investment

Overview

The European infrastructure market has experienced great interest over the past few years. The growth has largely been driven by “non-core” (or “core+/core++”) deals.

The appetite for the asset class is likely to remain strong with up to US$1.2 trillion of institutional capital potentially available to invest over the next decade.

 

This updated research report explores the growth and emergence of new areas of infrastructure, describes their comparative risk profiles and offers some suggestions for the outlook for the market.


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+60%

Rise in infrastructure deals over 2013-2018

Key findings

The number of infrastructure transactions increased 60% from 328 to 517 deals between 2013 to 2018, and the value of transactions from £44 billion to £109 billion over the same period. Appetite for the asset class is likely to remain strong with up to US$1.2 trillion of institutional capital available to invest over the next decade.

From 2013, deal value in non-core infrastructure has approached – and sometimes exceeded – 60% of total annual deal value for the sector as a whole.

“We have seen increasing deal pressures in the core infrastructure market in recent years as an increasing volume of capital chases a limited number of assets across Europe. This has pushed traditionally more risk-averse infrastructure investors into higher-yielding core+/++ investments. These investments now account for over half of deal value in the European market.” Jessamy Gallagher, partner and Co-head of Infrastructure at Linklaters.

The report’s risk card examines the risk associated with both core and non-core infrastructure investments across France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK in more detail. It recognises the increased risk associated with non-core assets across all countries as compared to core infrastructure assets – largely as a result of higher commercial and delivery risk. A further conclusion drawn is the dispersion of risk by country for core infrastructure as compared to non-core, highlighting the impact of government decisions on the overall risk associated with regulated infrastructure. Changes to regulation and political instability have the potential to significantly cool investor appetite.

It seems likely that non-core infrastructure will continue to provide a steady flow of deals in the years ahead. Investors’ ability to diligence these opportunities thoroughly will be critical to ensuring the right opportunities at the right price.

"We expect core+/++ infrastructure investment in Europe to remain buoyant as investors seek returns in a highly competitive market, with a backdrop of decreasing returns on regulated core infrastructure."

Ian Andrews

Partner and Co-head of Infrastructure at Linklaters