Exclusive: Macquarie establishes US infra debt team

Macquarie Infrastructure Debt Investment Solutions has appointed two veterans to expand its global $4.4bn debt business as it eyes US energy, transport, telecoms and social infra P3s.

Macquarie Infrastructure Debt Investment Solutions has appointed two company veterans to lead the debt unit’s incursion into the US market.

Ariel Jankelson, who has worked for over 10 years in Macquarie Capital’s project and infrastructure financing team, is leading the expansion effort as a senior vice president of MIDIS, in New York. Jankelson has structured, advised on and helped arrange several infrastructure deb deals across the transportation, power, renewables and midstream energy sectors. He will be joined by Sunil Malhotra, a MIDIS investment team senior associate who is relocating from London.

Speaking to Infrastructure Investor, MIDIS co-heads Andrew Robertson and James Wilson said the US expansion was always on the cards for the $4.4 billion global debt business. The expansion was driven on the client side by “heightened demand from our insurance and pension fund clients”, Wilson said, and, on the asset side, by the “US market becoming more open to bespoke infrastructure financings”, Wilson added.

The co-heads also see an opportunity to step in as lenders and replace some of the business traditionally done by European banks in the US.

In terms of sectors, MIDIS will focus on energy (including both generation and midstream), telecoms (including broadband), transportation and social infrastructure (including university P3s). “Our initial focus will be on investment-grade assets where we have capital to deploy today. We also see opportunities elsewhere in the capital stack, including sub-investment grade and junior debt,” Wilson explained.

Wilson and Robertson would not comment on what products they have planned for the US, but in Europe and the UK, MIDIS manages both separate accounts and a UK inflation-linked infrastructure debt fund, which closed last year on £829 million ($1.07 billion; €951.7 billion). MIDIS is currently raising a second UK inflation-linked debt fund.

“We’ve managed to build a business in Europe and the UK generating a good illiquidity premium and we plan to do the same in the US,” Robertson pointed out. “We leverage the Macquarie brand but we are very active on the borrower side – we are not a passive receiver of syndicated bank loans and we’ve had to work hard to tailor deals to the needs of our borrowers.”

Wilson added: “We’ve been able to deliver on more than just price: we also offer our borrowers flexibility and certainty of execution.”