II Awards 2018: Asia-Pacific winners

Equis, Macquarie and Palisade were among those winning titles in Asia-Pacific

1. Equis
2. Global Infrastructure Partners
3. Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets

The $5 billion Equis Energy deal sent a jolt across the Asia-Pacific region. Chief executive David Russell and his team spent five years painstakingly putting together a 180-strong operational and under-development renewables portfolio, operated through 15 offices across the region.

Its success in exiting this portfolio – the largest renewables deal ever – speaks volumes about the opportunities available in Asia-Pacific, especially for those fund managers willing to roll up their sleeves and invest time and resources scouting the market for valuable deals.

“Equis Energy has become one of the leading renewable energy platforms in the region, with a best in class business model, a high quality asset portfolio and an outstanding management team,” said GIP chairman Adebayo Ogunlesi, after closing the deal to acquire Equis Energy.  We couldn’t sum it up better.

1. Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets
2. National Investment and Infrastructure Fund
3. SPARX Group

Macquarie’s win in this category should come as no surprise. After all, the firm last year managed to raise the largest Asia-focused infrastructure fund ever – Macquarie Asia Infrastructure Fund II – on its $3.3 billion hard-cap.

More than 20 returning and new LPs from Asia-Pacific, North America, the Middle East and Europe rushed to commit to the new vehicle, hungry for the higher returns available in Asia’s infrastructure markets.

“The Asian infrastructure market is maturing and continues to provide attractive investment opportunities across diverse sectors,” David Luboff, chief executive of MAIF fund series, said at the time of the close.(Luboff has now jumped ship to KKR).

Despite its size, it seems that the firm will not have problems deploying it: by April, more than $1.7 billion of the new vehicle had already been committed to toll roads, renewables and petrochemical storage assets in India, the Philippines, Singapore and China.

1. Equis Energy (GIP, PSP Investments, CIC)
2. WestConnex (Transurban, AustralianSuper, CPPIB, Tawreed Investments)
3. Safeway Concessions (MIRA)

It’s not by chance that the Equis Energy deal reigns supreme in this year’s awards. From a regional perspective, the much-discussed sale of the 11.1 GW portfolio underlines the size of the opportunity offered by Asia-Pacific, and its growing appeal to international investors.

As mentioned before, Equis spent five years painstakingly putting together a 180-strong operational and under-development renewables portfolio, operated through 15 offices across the region.

At the same time, observers will appreciate GIP’s leadership in putting together a consortium with Canada’s PSP Investments and China Investment Corporation to write a $5 billion cheque for what is still the industry’s largest-ever renewables deal.

1. Melbourne Metro Tunnel & Stations PPP (Bouygues, Lendlease, John Holland, Capella Capital, John Laing)
2. Fukuoka Airport (Fukuoka Airport Holding, Changi Airports, Nishi-Nippon Railroad, Mitsubishi Corporation and Kyushu Electric Power)
3. Western Roads Upgrade (Plenary, Cintra)

The Lendlease-led Cross Yarra Partnership has been moving forward with the construction of twin 9km rail tunnels and five stations in Melbourne.

The PPP deal is the main bundle of a series of concessions aimed at forming the largest public transport scheme ever in Victoria, costing a total of A$11 billion. To win the contract, Cross Yarra had to fend off competition from consortiums including the likes of Macquarie Capital, Ferrovial Agroman and CPB Contractors.

1. Global Infrastructure Partners
2. Partners Group
3. Brookfield Asset Management

If Equis has been rewarded in other categories for crafting a unique renewables portfolio across Asia-Pacific, GIP is recognised here as Energy Investor of the Year, Asia-Pacific for its boldness and clear vision regarding the region’s future.

The $5 billion Equis Energy deal gives the New York-based manager a strong foothold in “one of the most promising renewable energy markets in the world,” chairman Adebayo Ogunlesi said at the time.

With projects still in development, the Equis Energy story is growth: in February, the newly acquired firm reached financial close on the 127MW Tailem Bend solar project in South Australia and was on track to build over A$1 billion ($716 million; €630 million) of new projects in the near future.

1. Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets
2. Transurban
3. Mitsubishi

Macquarie’s experience in the transport sector has allowed the firm to keep expanding its presence in some of Asia-Pacific’s more ‘emerging markets’, like India. Last March, the firm’s Macquarie Asia Infrastructure Fund 2 snapped up the 30-year concession for nine tolled highways in India for a whopping $1.49 billion, almost 50 percent higher than the original base price asked by Delhi.

MIRA’s bid reportedly defeated other infrastructure heavyweights like Canadian fund manager Brookfield, as well as a joint venture between PSP Investments’ road platform Roadis Infrastructure and India’s National Infrastructure Investment Fund.
MIRA certainly can’t be faulted for its timing: a second bundle of eight toll roads auctioned by Delhi at the end of 2018 failed to attract any bid matching its initial price.

1. Palisade Investment Partners
2. Next Capital
3. Digital Realty

Palisade made its maiden telecoms investment this year with the acquisition of “a significant ownership stake” in the Hawaiki submarine cable, a critical piece of infrastructure connecting the US, Australia and New Zealand. With more than 43 terabits of data capacity, it is the “fastest and largest” link between the three countries and holds capacity contracts with users like Amazon Web Services.

“Data usage is growing generally and in Australia, and the physical infrastructure that underpins that is becoming more and more important,” Palisade investment director Mike Reynolds told Infrastructure Investor.

As Palisade’s understanding of the sector grows, it could well turn into a growth driver for the firm, much as renewables have done.