HICL makes maiden investments in France

The deals mark an active start to the year for the firm, which also acquired incremental stakes in three existing investments and disposed of interests in two projects this week.

HICL Infrastructure Company, a London-listed investment vehicle, has made its first two investments in France.

The acquisitions comprise an 85 percent interest in the University of Bourgogne Public-Private Partnership (PPP) and a 90 percent stake in the Troissereux bypass RD901 PPP. The projects reached their respective financial closes in July 2013 and January 2014, and both are now under construction.

The university project is a contract to design, construct, finance and maintain four new academic buildings on the Bourgogne university campus, in addition to refurbishing one existing facility. HICL will acquire the stake from Pertuy Construction, which is undertaking the £17 million (€20 million; $28 million) construction programme over the next two years. Bouygues Energies and Services, in charge of managing the facilities, will bear the lifecycle risk during a 25-year term.

The second project involves the design, construction, financing and maintenance of a new 7-kilometre dual carriageway bypassing the town of Troissereux, near Beauvais. The 22-year PPP, structured on an availability basis with payments from the Département de l'Oise, will be jointly carried out by French developers Colas, Bouygues and DTP Terrassement.

HICL has committed a combined €6.5 million worth of equity to both projects, mainly comprised of future loan stock subscription obligations contractually payable upon completion of the construction phase.

The deals mark a busy start to the year for the firm, which also announced the acquisition of incremental stakes in three existing investments and the disposal of interests in two projects today.

The 20 percent additional holdings in each of Derby Schools, Newport Schools and Medway Police projects, acquired from Vinci Investments, brings HICL’s stakes to 100 percent in each of these assets. The separate sale of an 80 percent stake in both Dorset and Swindon Police projects were made to Vinci Pensions, the corporate trustee of the Vinci PLC pension fund.

The proceeds of this disposal, the third by HICL in the last six months, will be used to reduce drawings under the company’s revolving credit facility. The company, which has more than £60 million still available through its tap issue facility, now manages a portfolio of 91 infrastructure assets.