Infrastructure Investor Awards 2020: Europe

One firm took fund manager and equity fundraising of the year, while another took the digital infrastructure firm and deal of the year titles.

Bowled over: Asterion’s debut fund smashed through its initial target by €250 million

Fund Manager of the Year

WINNER: Asterion Industrial Partners

SECOND PLACE: Antin Infrastructure Partners
THIRD PLACE: Arcus Infrastructure Partners

Spanish manager Asterion Industrial Partners kicked off 2020 by closing a debut fund on €1.1 billion, having been forced to raise its initial hard-cap due to overwhelming demand. The firm also completed five deals across the energy and digital sectors in Spain, Italy and the UK. Finally, Asterion launched a project to help support local communities, including the embattled Spanish hospital system.

Equity Fundraising of the Year

WINNER: Asterion Industrial Partners

SECOND PLACE: Antin Infrastructure Partners
THIRD PLACE: DIF Capital Partners

Asterion Industrial Partners’ takes its second award for its maiden vehicle, which took just over 12 months to raise. The €1.1 billion final close was more than €250 million above its initial target and €100 million over the hard-cap, which investors agreed to waive. The fund, which is targeting a gross return of between 10 and 12 percent, plus 5 percent yield, is now the largest private capital vehicle in Spain.

Debt Fundraising of the Year

WINNER: AXA Investment Managers

SECOND PLACE: BlackRock
THIRD PLACE: Macquarie Infrastructure Debt Investment Solutions

AXA Investment Managers exceeded its €750 million target to raise €1.05 billion for its second European infrastructure senior debt fund. Significant investment came from existing investors, but around 40 percent of institutions committing to the vehicle had never invested in the asset class before. The majority of investors in the fund are European, with the remainder from Asia. The fund has already completed deals across France, Spain and Germany.

Deal of the Year

WINNER: Viridor (KKR)

SECOND PLACE: Brisa
THIRD PLACE: Adven

In one of the largest deals completed in 2020, KKR’s £4.2 billion ($5.8 billion; €4.8 billion) acquisition of UK-based waste-from-energy asset Viridor saw it enter a sector poised for significant growth, as the UK adapts to its target for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The company has big ambitions for growth and is already exploring options for multiple new recovery facilities across the country.

Energy Deal of the Year

WINNER: Viridor (KKR)

SECOND PLACE: Sorgenia
THIRD PLACE: Adven

Competition was tough in this category. The tie-up between Italy’s largest infrastructure player F2i and new kid on the block Asterion to buy Italian gas and renewables platform Sorgenia came in a close second, trailed by JPMorgan Asset Management’s acquisition of Nordic district heating company Adven. But it is KKR’s carve out of waste-from-energy business Viridor from UK water group Pennon that ultimately claims the prize again.

No waste please: clean energy was a popular target for private capital in 2020 and is set to grow further in 2021

Renewables Deal of the Year

WINNER: Björnberget Wind Farm (Prime Capital, Enlight Renewable Energy)

SECOND PLACE: Viridor
THIRD PLACE: Skaftasen

Prime Capital and Enlight Renewable Energy’s investment in Nordic windfarm Björnberget was the standout renewables deal of 2020. Once built, the 372MW onshore wind site in Sweden will be one of Europe’s largest, with 60 planned turbines. The project is already in negotiations to sell over 50 percent of the facility’s electricity production for the first 10 years to a global technology giant. KKR’s award-winning Viridor deal takes second place while another Swedish windfarm deal, Skaftasen, which brought together a group of local and international investors, takes third place in this category.

Digital Infrastructure Deal of the Year

WINNER: Vauban Infra Fibre (Vauban Infrastructure Partners, Axione)

SECOND PLACE: Deutsche Glasfaser
THIRD PLACE: GTR

In a year when the critical nature of fibre became truly apparent, Vauban Infrastructure Partners decided to consolidate all its assets in the sector into a single platform, in partnership with its wholesale operator Axione. In addition to reinforcing the resilience of its existing assets, the aim is to gather additional financial capacity and commercial strength to support the ongoing digitisation of France, with a target of spending a further €1.3 billion in developing networks and 11 million new fibre-to-the-home connections in the country in the next two years.

Energy Investor of the Year

WINNER: Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners

SECOND PLACE: Infracapital
THIRD PLACE: Allianz Capital Partners

Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners inked a 1GW Spanish wind deal with Forestalia in 2020. It also broke new ground, forming a new bioenergy unit and completing its first deal in the sector. Meanwhile, the firm is well on the way to closing its latest renewables fund with a target of €5.5 billion, which would make it the largest dedicated renewables vehicle
in the world.

Renewables Investor of the Year

WINNER: Prime Capital

SECOND PLACE: Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners
THIRD PLACE: Greencoat Capital

In addition to acquiring what will become one of the largest windfarms in Europe – Björnberget, which is poised to produce energy for around 300,000 households and help avert over 600,000 tons of carbon emissions a year – Prime Capital also reached a €202 million first close on its Prime Green Energy Infrastructure Fund, its first dedicated infra vehicle, last year. Prime also sold three Finnish windfarms in 2020, consisting of 11 turbines and totalling 36.2MW.

Transport Investor of the Year

WINNER: Meridiam

SECOND PLACE: Arcus Infrastructure Partners
THIRD PLACE: DIF Capital Partners

Despite 2020 being a troubled year for transport, Meridiam has remained active across the sector, securing the £500 million A465 PPP in Wales and reaching an €883.5 million financial close on the A49 PPP in Germany. Elsewhere, Meridiam was designated as preferred bidder for the D4 motorway PPP contract in the Czech Republic, alongside Vinci.

Network-critical: Vauban is supporting improved home connectivity in France

Digital Infrastructure Investor of the Year

WINNER: Vauban Infrastructure Partners

SECOND PLACE: KKR
THIRD PLACE: EQT

The launch of the €6 billion Vauban Infra Fibre Platform may have been enough for Vauban Infrastructure Partners to claim the title. But the firm has gone further, teaming up with Bouygues Telecom to bring fibre-based networks to homes in medium-density areas of France. The JV will invest over €1 billion of debt and equity in the project over the next four years.