DIF boosts stake in 10 PFI projects

DIF Infrastructure III has bought an additional 40% stake in a portfolio comprising schools, courts, street lighting and road maintenance.

In its second deal since closing its third infrastructure fund, Dutch fund manager DIF has increased its ownership in a portfolio of 10 Private Finance Initiative (PFI) projects to 90 percent, DIF announced yesterday.

The fund manager already owned 50 percent of the UK portfolio, which it bought from UK support services firm Amey in late 2009, through its second infrastructure fund. Now, via DIF Infrastructure III, which closed recently on €800 million, it bought an additional 40 percent stake in the portfolio from Amey, which continues to retain the remaining 10 percent.

The portfolio includes street lighting, schools, courts and a road maintenance project. The projects in question were commissioned between 2004 and 2009 and have concession lives ranging between 15 and 30 years.

Just last week, DIF Infrastructure III acquired a 35 percent stake in Solaire Durance, a 34-megawatt portfolio of four operational ground-mounted solar photovoltaic plants in the south-east of France. The deal marked DIF’s second foray into the French solar PV market. The seller was Solairedirect, an integrated solar power operator.

In other news, DIF recently made head of infrastructure Paul Nash a partner. Nash has been with DIF since 2008 and is also responsible for managing DIF’s London office. Prior to joining DIF, he was a director at monoline XL Capital Assurance. Nash also spent 10 years originating senior debt for infrastructure and project finance deals at Rabobank International and was later deputy head of structured finance at Landesbank Hessen Thuringen.

DIF Infrastructure III closed on €800 million towards the end of March, beating a €750 million hard cap. DIF has raised €1.6 billion of equity since inception and invests in public-private partnership (PPP)/PFI and renewable energy assets in Europe and North America.