IFM teams up with Polish state fund for port, two years after government blocked fund’s investments

The circa €1.1 billion deal for DCT Gdansk is IFM’s first in Poland since the government in 2017 blocked it for being a fund ‘focused on aggressive profit’.

IFM Investors has returned to Poland to invest in container terminal group DCT Gdansk, just over two years after the country’s government barred it from investing in Polish energy assets.

The Australian fund manager has taken a 30 percent share in DCT Gdansk, teaming up with the state-owned Polish Development Fund, which has also taken a 30 percent share, alongside Singapore-based port operator PSA International. The container port was bought from Macquarie’s 2004-vintage Global Infrastructure Fund II and MTAA Super, Australian Super and Sitewide Super in a deal believed to be worth about €1.1 billion.

It is the second Polish investment for IFM’s Global Infrastructure Fund following its 2011 investment in district heating assets owned by French energy services company Veolia. However, it was thwarted from adding to this in January 2017 when the Polish government – the same administration as today’s – intervened to prevent it from acquiring around 1.4GW of cogeneration assets from EDF. In the build-up to the decision, Energy Minister Krzysztof Tchórzewski described IFM as a “fund focused on aggressive profit” that would “exploit the assets”.

Marek Gróbarczyk, Poland’s minister of maritime economy, said the government’s main objective with regard to the DCT Gdansk deal was “infrastructure development of ports, strengthening their significant position and securing stable development for the future”.

“We believe that the unique combination of local and international content, as well as operational know-how of our partners will reinforce DCT Gdańsk for further growth,” a spokeswoman for  the Polish Development Fund told Infrastructure Investor. “With our partners we can achieve many potential synergies in long-term investment horizon.

IFM declined to comment further on the deal. The Ministry had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.

According to a joint statement by Macquarie and the buying consortium, DCT Gdansk had been owned by Macquarie since 2005 and is the fastest growing container port in Europe.