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Infrastructure Investor Awards 2021: Europe

Vauban makes a strong showing in the region as fund manager of the year, followed by EQT and Antin.

Fund Manager of the Year

WINNER: Vauban Infrastructure Partners

SECOND PLACE: EQT
THIRD PLACE: Antin Infrastructure Partners

Vauban was busy investing its new €2.5 billion fund in 2021, with deals including Niguarda Hospital in Milan and the Baixo Alentejo toll road in Portugal. The portfolio also includes Vauban Infra Fibre, a €6 billion platform it launched with digital infrastructure developer Axione last July and a PPP portfolio of brownfield assets in Spain, including four toll roads, a courthouse and a section of the Barcelona Metro.


Fast lane: toll roads featured prominently in Vauban’s 2021 spending spree

Equity Fundraising of the Year

WINNER: Vauban Infrastructure Partners

SECOND PLACE: EQT
THIRD PLACE: Meridiam

Europe’s Fund Manager of the Year is also responsible for the Fundraising of the Year. Vauban closed Core Infrastructure Fund III at its €2.5 billion hard-cap in 2021 and has already invested more than half of the capital. It achieved a 90 percent re-up rate, with LPs including insurance companies and pension funds, originating from 12 geographies across Europe and Asia. CIF III will replicate its predecessor’s strategy, targeting digital infra, energy transition, social infra and mobility in Europe.


Debt Fundraising of the Year

WINNER: Macquarie Asset Management

SECOND PLACE: Generali Global Infrastructure
THIRD PLACE:
Schroders Capital

Adding to its success after claiming the prize of Global Debt Fundraising of the Year, Macquarie’s infrastructure debt programme experienced particular success in Europe, having secured a coveted €1.25 billion mandate from Dutch asset manager MN. Macquarie also partnered with Norwegian insurance company KLP to establish a platform that will make investments in green infrastructure debt aligned with the EU Taxonomy. The platform will target investments across the solar, wind, hydro and storage sectors.


Deal of the Year

WINNER: John Laing (KKR, Equitix)

SECOND PLACE: Autostrade per l’Italia (CDP, Blackstone, Macquarie Asset Management)
THIRD PLACE: EXA (I Squared Capital)

KKR’s take-private of UK-based John Laing, one of the most high-profile developers and owners of infrastructure projects, in a £2 billion ($2.6 billion; €2.3 billion) deal, was one of the most talked-about transactions of 2021. John Laing owns 29 assets, many of which involve PPPs, across 11 countries. It holds stakes in both Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool and a retirement homebuilding project with McCarthy Stone. It first floated in February 2015.


Energy Deal of the Year

WINNER: Caruna (KKR, OTPP)

SECOND PLACE: Project Fortress (Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners)
THIRD PLACE: Western Power Distribution (National Grid)

KKR and OTPP joined forces to acquire an 80 percent stake in Caruna, Finland’s largest electricity distribution company, via two separate transactions with OMERS and First Sentier Investors. With Swedish pension AMF also buying a 12.5 percent stake from Finnish pension Keva, the deal overcame some substantial FDI restrictions that have recently been introduced in Finland. The deal coincided with the opening of KKR’s first Nordic office in Stockholm.


Power play: I Squared earmarks $500 million for renewables with Cube Green Energy launch

Renewables Deal of the Year

WINNER: Cube Green Energy (I Squared Capital)

SECOND PLACE: Project Fortress (Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners)
THIRD PLACE: Glennmont Partners (Nuveen)

I Squared Capital is looking to invest about $500 million over the coming years with the launch of Cube Green Energy, which will focus on developing, repowering, constructing and operating wind and solar farms, as well as investing in the deployment of emerging technologies such as battery storage and green hydrogen. It will focus on mature renewables markets in continental Europe and is led by former senior executives from GE Energy Financial Services, the energy investment arm of General Electric.


Digital Infrastructure Deal of the Year

WINNER: FiberCop (KKR)

SECOND PLACE: CityFibre (Mubadala Investment, Interogo)
THIRD PLACE:
EXA (I Squared Capital)

KKR’s joint venture with Telecom Italia and Fastweb to create FiberCop is designed to bring fibre connectivity throughout Italy. By 2025, FiberCop intends its fibre roll-out to provide connectivity to 1,600 municipalities in Italy, on an open access basis, equivalent to 56 percent of the country’s technical property units. Upon completion of the deal, FiberCop had an enterprise value of €7.7 billion, with €3 billion of debt allocated to the entity.


Energy Investor of the Year

WINNER: Ardian

SECOND PLACE: I Squared Capital
THIRD PLACE: Copenhagen Capital Partners

Ardian’s stance on hydrogen helped it stand out in 2021. The firm has launched a dedicated Article 9 hydrogen fund alongside FiveT Hydrogen. It has also helped create a German producer of green electricity with more than 2.3GW of installed capacity and a planned investment volume of €3.6 billion by 2030. In addition, the firm has joined forces with Italian utility A2A in a €4.5 billion cash-and-asset deal that has created the country’s second-largest green energy provider.


Renewables Investor of the Year

WINNER: Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners

SECOND PLACE: Q-Energy
THIRD PLACE: Glennmont Partners

Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners powered to a €7 billion final close for its fourth flagship renewables vehicle in 2021, exceeding its €5.5 billion target. The fund is the largest dedicated greenfield renewable energy fund globally. The firm also agreed significant divestments last year, including the sale of a 35 percent stake in the 588MW Beatrice offshore wind farm and a 49 percent stake in a 487MW Spanish wind portfolio, sold to Arjun Infrastructure Partners.


Transport Investor of the Year

WINNER: Vauban Infrastructure Partners

SECOND PLACE: Blackstone
THIRD PLACE: EQT

Vauban marked its entry into the rail sector with the take-private last year of Aves One, a railcar leasing company in Europe. In the Nordics, meanwhile, the firm agreed to buy Boreal, a Norwegian operator of ferries, light rail and buses. On the road, Vauban also acquired a 113 kilometre highway in Portugal from ACS. Vauban is also a significant investor in the car park space, in which it has been driving a digital transformation.


Making connections: Antin Infrastructure
Partners raised £1.1 billion for UK fibre-to-the-premises business CityFibre

Digital Infrastructure Investor of the Year

WINNER: Antin Infrastructure Partners

SECOND PLACE: APG Asset Management
THIRD PLACE: Cube Infrastructure Managers

Last year, Antin acquired Pulsant, owner of a portfolio of 10 data centres with over 1,000 enterprise and public sector customers in the UK, from Oak Hill Capital and Scottish Equity Partners. The firm also raised a further £1.1 billion ($1.5 billion; €1.3 billion) in equity and debt financing for UK fibre-to-the-premises business CityFibre, the group it has owned alongside Goldman Sachs since 2018, bringing in Mubadala Investment Corporation and Interogo as new shareholders.