Infracapital subsidiary in £1bn UK smart-meter rollout

The fund manager, alongside the EIB and six commercial banks, has increased its investment in portfolio company Calvin Capital to support the programme.   

London-based fund manager Infracapital has upped its investment in portfolio company Calvin Capital to help fund a £1 billion ($1.51 billion; €1.39 billion) government-mandated programme to install a smart meter in every UK home and business by 2020.

Infracapital’s investment, which the fund manager declined to elaborate on but a source familiar with the deal estimated at some £250 million, comes alongside £360 million from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and some £390 million of commercial debt from Barclays, Credit Agricole CIB, HSBC, Santander, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and The Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ.

The EIB’s investment in the programme is the largest to date out of its €315 billion Investment Plan for Europe, with EIB vice-president Jonathan Taylor saying “this programme provides a benchmark for similar smart meter schemes across Europe in the future”.

The funds will be used to help Calvin Capital buy and install over seven million smart meters across the UK. Infracapital originally invested in electricity and gas meter asset manager Calvin Capital in 2007, having helped it finance more than six million domestic meter installations for a total investment of more than £700 million.

Infracapital closed its latest fund on £1 billion, plus £300 million in co-investment pledges, in October last year. The 12-year fund, which targets core infrastructure assets across Europe, is the successor to a 2005-vintage fund which closed on £908 million.

In April this year, Infracapital launched a greenfield unit (not a part of existing funds) headed by former 3i Infrastructure partner Andy Matthews. The following month, it completed an investment in UK broadband firm Gigaclear.