Registration and networking breakfast
Opening panel: M&A in a time of global uncertainty and disruption
The infrastructure finance industry is experiencing one of the most challenging times in its history with rising interest rates and inflation, underperformance in certain sectors such as fibre, historic low fundraising, and regulatory pressures. Where are the opportunities amidst the crisis?
- What sectors are thriving amidst the economic uncertainty?
- What strategies are you adopting to manage debt in your portfolio companies?
- Is the uncertainty giving rise to opportunities for some managers?
- What parts of energy transition are most exciting you at present and why?
- As rising bond yields make core strategies less exciting for LPs, are GPs now going up the risk curve?
EV charging - what do investors need to overcome the challenges to meet demand?
The European Commission’s Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR) and the UK government’s Net Zero strategy have set ambitious targets for 2050 for the deployment of electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the continent. It means that Europe needs significant work on providing charging points on a large scale. What are the targets over time and what are European states doing to meet these goals to facilitate the transition to EVs? How does EV charging penetration vary in different countries and how can states achieve density to drive EV demand across the continent?
- What are the main challenges that the sector is facing?
- How does this impact valuations? Is it inflating prices too much?
- How to pick investments at the right price to ensure adequate returns?
- Which models are sought by investors (installation in private condominiums, at car parks, shopping centres, on service areas of motorways, etc)?
- How are the different players differentiating themselves?
- Are charging standards (such as interoperability – so that platforms work for all models) still an issue? What about charging speed and power grid management – so that demand for electricity doesn’t lead to power shortage?
Infralogic data presentation
Utilizing insights from Infralogic, find out the most up-to-date market trends and gain an understanding of the direction of the infrastructure and energy markets by 2024.
Airport M&A in the post-pandemic world
Airports are still reeling from the pandemic with traffic levels yet to return to 2019 levels. This has hit M&A in the sector as investors wait for a full recovery before selling. But share prices of many operators have rebounded and many expect a busy summer to fuel airports’ recovery.
- Will strong traffic figures for 2023 help to reignite the market?
- Or has the pandemic resulted in permanent changes (such as less business travel) that will prevent a full recovery?
- Is there potential for distressed situations as weaker airports continue to suffer from low traffic?
- Will concerns over decarbonisation deter some investors or attract others keen to invest in decarbonisation?
- What are the prospects for airport privatisations?
Fibre: Challenges and consolidation in the European fibre market
Billions of debt has been raised over the past few years on the back of a flurry of M&A deals in the European fibre market. Amidst higher interest rates and inflation, debt raises have slowed down in 2023, at the same time as the first insolvency cases made their appearance in Germany and the UK. With a more difficult debt environment, how can infrastructure fund-backed fibre operators live up to their ambitious rollout expectations?
- What are the main difficulties for fibre companies seeking new debt these days?
- Will equity investors need to step in and inject fresh cash to keep their companies’ rollout plans on track?
- Are more signs of consolidation expected to be seen in the European fibre market?
- Should the market expect to see more insolvencies of fibre companies soon?
Keynote Presentation - Ofwat
LPs & fundraising: preparing for a tougher investing environment
Funds that invest in infrastructure and renewable energy raised a record USD 45.57bn in first, second or third closes in the six months through June, offsetting the worst first half for final closes in more than a decade.
This helped mitigate the impact of 17 investment vehicles raising just USD 7.23bn in final closes in the six months through June, the least since the first half of 2012
Activity slumped to USD 3.9bn raised by six funds in the second quarter of this year.
- What types of funds are LPs galivanting towards?
- How are LPs looking at energy funds compared to more general infrastructure funds?
- How much of an impact does the so-called denominator effect have on fundraising? Are some LPs willing to exceed allocation caps?
- Several GPs executed secondary deals in 2022 to hold onto assets longer. Are LPs open to more GP-led secondary transactions?
- Are there any openings for new GPs to raise inaugural funds?
Afternoon networking break
Financing infrastructure amid rising interest rates
Infrastructure borrowers are being squeezed by rising interest rates and questions are emerging on the relative value of infrastructure debt for institutional investors. How is the face of infrastructure finance changing in the new high-inflation, high-rates environment?
- What are the challenges for borrowers seeking to refinance infrastructure assets as interest rates soar? Is the time over for debt-funded dividend recaps?
- Are conditions tightening for infrastructure funds seeking to raise acquisition finance?
- Is the appeal of senior infrastructure debt waning for institutional investors as government bond yields return to rise? Is this squeezing asset managers seeking to raise new senior debt funds? Are junior debt funds gaining new traction?
- Are banks benefiting in the current environment, as traditional floating rate lenders? Are they gaining a competitive advantage compared to institutional investors?
- Is debt becoming less attractive in competitive markets such as regulated utilities and operational renewables, where equity returns are compressed closer to debt costs?
- How is the pipeline for infrastructure financiers shifting? Is the market for fibre and towers debt drying up? Is transport including airports and roads returning to the fore?
- How bankable are new energy transition deals, such as batteries, EV charging and hydrogen?
Close of conference and networking break
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