Return to search

Infrastructure Investor Awards 2021: Global

The winners in categories such as personality, firm and fundraise of the year, as well as sectors like digital infrastructure and transport.

Personality of the Year

WINNER: Joe Biden, US president

SECOND PLACE: Alain Rauscher, Antin Infrastructure Partners
THIRD PLACE: Anne Valentine Andrews, BlackRock

Many politicians have talked about it, but it was the 46th president of the United States who made history by shepherding in a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, the largest public works bill since President Dwight D Eisenhower created the Interstate Highway System. Biden’s package will unleash $550 billion of new funds for transportation, broadband and utilities. More than $100 billion has been earmarked for roads, $66 billion for rail and a further $65 billion to fuel the country’s broadband rollout.


Fund Manager of the Year

WINNER: KKR

SECOND PLACE: EQT
THIRD PLACE: Blackstone

KKR started 2021 with a bang, closing Asia’s largest-ever infrastructure fund with $3.9 billion in commitments. The firm has since gone on to amass $15 billion and counting for its latest global flagship – far surpassing its initial $12 billion target. KKR has also launched a new, open-end core vehicle, which has raised about $7 billion to date; acquired UK developer John Laing; and invested in about 20 deals across the digital infrastructure, renewables, transportation and energy sectors globally.


Institutional Investor of the Year

WINNER: CPPIB

SECOND PLACE: CDPQ
THIRD PLACE: APG

Canadian pension plan CPPIB set its sights firmly on sustainable energy last year. One highlight was the creation of the C$18 billion ($14.1 billion; €12.4 billion) Sustainable Energy Group, through the merger of two internal units. The other was the establishment of Renewable Power Capital, a pan-European renewables platform willing to invest flexible capital, and to consider a range of revenue structures and merchant risk. Elsewhere, CPPIB made significant investments in roads with Transurban Chesapeake and NHAI InvIT, and in water with Iguá Saneamento.


Equity Fundraising of the Year

WINNER: EQT

SECOND PLACE: Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners
THIRD PLACE: Actis

EQT raised one of the industry’s largest-ever funds in 2021, closing at its €15.7 billion hard-cap and enjoying a 99 percent re-up rate from its predecessor based on committed capital. The firm’s LP base includes pensions, insurers, sovereign wealth funds, endowments and family offices. The fund is already between 60 percent and 65 percent invested across a 12-asset portfolio, with a strong leaning towards assets supporting the energy transition, including global waste-to-energy company Covanta and US solar developer Cypress Creek Renewables.


Debt Fundraising of the Year

WINNER: Macquarie Asset Management

SECOND PLACE: Brookfield Asset Management
THIRD PLACE: BlackRock Real Assets

Last year was a strong one for Macquarie’s infrastructure debt platform, with some $3.7 billion raised over the past 12 months and $1.9 billion invested. Highlights include a €1.25 billion mandate from Dutch asset manager MN, on behalf of two pension funds gaining their first exposure to the asset class. The mandate is to build a diversified portfolio in Western Europe. Macquarie also raised a green energy debt fund anchored by Norway’s KLP.


Private Lender of the Year

WINNER: Ares Management Corporation

SECOND PLACE: Macquarie Asset Management
THIRD PLACE: MetLife Investment Management

Ares Management Corporation committed to five new financing transactions in 2021, representing a total commitment of $311 million across the solar and storage sectors. The firm structured a flexible capital debt solution for Broad Reach Power to allow it to expand its development, construction and operating portfolio of standalone storage assets in Texas and California.

Ares also created a bespoke debt solution for PosiGen to help bring the benefits of low-cost residential solar and energy efficiency to low- and moderate-income families across the US.


Deal of the Year

WINNER: John Laing (KKR, Equitix)

SECOND PLACE: Aramco Oil Pipelines Company (EIG, Mubadala Investment Company, Silk Road Fund, Hassana, Samsung Asset Management)
THIRD PLACE: Enwave (IFM, OTPP, QIC, Ullico)

With the £2 billion ($2.7 billion; €2.4 billion) acquisition of UK-based John Laing Group, which invests in, develops and operates infrastructure assets across the globe, private equity giant KKR has added a company to its portfolio with a strong global footprint and extensive experience in public-private partnerships.

The transaction, which was agreed in May, saw KKR delist John Laing from the London Stock Exchange and split it into two companies – a DevCo and an AssetCo. John Laing’s existing portfolio of 32 infrastructure assets has been transferred to the AssetCo. Any new investments will be owned by the DevCo.


PPP Deal of the Year

WINNER: VICOS (Vauban Infrastructure Partners)

SECOND PLACE: California State University, Fresno
THIRD PLACE: Fargo-Moorhead Metropolitan Area Flood Risk Management Project (Acciona, Shikun & Binui, NACG US)

Through the €388 million acquisition of FCC Concesiones’ stakes in three brownfield assets, Paris-based Vauban created Vauban Infrastructure Company Spain (VICOS). The portfolio includes Cedinsa Concessionària, the concessionaire for four shadow toll roads around Barcelona spanning almost 267km; Concessió Estacions Aeroport, an SPV that holds a 32-year concession agreement for the construction of Section One of Barcelona Metro Line 9; and Urbs Iudex and Causidicus, the concessionaire of the Ciutat de la Justícia in Barcelona, a judicial complex comprising eight buildings.


Energy Deal of the Year

WINNER: Sempra Infrastructure Partners (KKR)

SECOND PLACE: Aramco Oil Pipelines Company (EIG, Mubadala Investment Company, Silk Road Fund, Hassana, Samsung Asset Management)
THIRD PLACE: Enwave (IFM, OTPP, QIC, Ullico)

KKR invested $3.37 billion in Sempra Infrastructure Partners, a newly launched entity created by San Diego-based Sempra Energy, taking a 20 percent stake. The deal values the new company, which holds Sempra Energy’s non-utility infrastructure investments, at $25.2 billion. Sempra Infrastructure Partners will focus on the development and construction of North American LNG export infrastructure, as well as natural gas infrastructure and renewable energy generation. Sempra has since gone on to sell a further 10 percent to the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.


Renewables Deal of the Year: Ares’s AIP bags a controlling stake in Apex Clean Energy

Renewables Deal of the Year

WINNER: Apex Clean Energy (Ares Management Corporation)

SECOND PLACE: Shepherds Flat Wind Farm (Brookfield Asset Management)
THIRD PLACE: Greater Changhua (CDPQ, Cathay PE)

Ares’s infrastructure and power group, AIP, acquired a controlling stake in Apex Clean Energy, billed as one of the largest privately owned clean energy companies in the US. Apex, based in Virginia, has commercialised more than $9 billion of projects to date and has more than 30GW of wind, solar, storage and distributed energy resources in development. AIP intends to help Apex transition from a renewables developer to a renewables independent power producer.


Digital Infrastructure Deal of the Year

WINNER: FiberCop (KKR)

SECOND PLACE: EXA Infrastructure (I Squared Capital)
THIRD PLACE: QTS Realty Trust (Blackstone)

In April 2021, KKR acquired a 37.5 percent stake in Telecom Italia’s broadband access network, FiberCop, for €1.8 billion. The new company owns TIM’s secondary broadband network and Flash Fiber, a fibre-optic network covering 29 cities. KKR will support FiberCop in managing the upgrade of Telecom Italia’s fixed-line access network from copper to fibre. It will also invest in the country’s programme to increase access to ultra-fast broadband over the next five years.


Placement Agent of the Year     

WINNER: Evercore

SECOND PLACE: Campbell Lutyens
THIRD PLACE: Selinus Capital Advisors

Big wins for Evercore in 2021 included placing Antin Infrastructure Partners’ triumphant return to the mid-market – Mid Cap Fund I – which closed on its €2.2 billion hard-cap, surpassing a €1.5 billion target. The firm is also responsible for I Squared Capital’s third flagship fund, currently still in market. The Employees Retirement System of Texas is among the latest to join and, with more than $13 billion raised, the fund is already above its $12 billion target.


Developer of the Year

WINNER: Ørsted

SECOND PLACE: Acciona
THIRD PLACE: Capella Capital

In November 2021, Danish renewables developer Ørsted acquired Lincoln Land Wind, a 302MW onshore wind farm in Morgan County, Illinois, from funds managed by Ares Infrastructure and Power. The acquisition marked Ørsted’s entry into the US Midcontinent Independent System Operator market, which covers 15 states in the Midwest and the South. Another highlight was Ørsted’s acquisition of Brookfield Renewable’s onshore wind business in Ireland and the UK, marking the company’s entry into the European onshore market.


Energy Investor of the Year

WINNER: KKR

SECOND PLACE: I Squared Capital
THIRD PLACE:
Brookfield Asset Management

KKR’s energy investments in 2021 included the $3.37 billion deal with Sempra Energy, which saw it claim first prize in the Energy Deal of the Year category. The firm’s Independence Energy and Contango Oil and Gas merged to create a consolidation-focused oil and gas company with an enterprise value of about $5.7 billion. Elsewhere, KKR partnered with Canadian pension plan OTPP to acquire an 80 percent stake in Caruna, Finland’s largest electricity distribution company, via two separate transactions.


Renewables Investor of the Year

WINNER: KKR

SECOND PLACE: I Squared Capital
THIRD PLACE:
OMERS

KKR invested or committed to six new renewables transactions across North America, Asia and Europe in 2021. These investments included an agreement to carve out and acquire Clearway Community Energy, the second-largest district energy platform in the US, for $1.9 billion; the acquisition of a minority stake in US solar developer Sol Systems; the launch of Virescent Renewable Energy Trust; and a $1.4 billion investment to acquire equity interests in portfolios of contracted utility-scale wind and solar assets from NextEra Energy.


Transport Investor of the Year

WINNER: Global Infrastructure Partners

SECOND PLACE: KKR
THIRD PLACE: Blackstone

Global Infrastructure Partners’ commitment to the transport sector was on full display in 2021, particularly with regards to the beleaguered aviation industry. The firm took part in consortia taking over Sydney Airport for A$23.6 billion ($16.8 billion; €14.8 billion), and acquiring the private airport terminal operator Signature Aviation for $4.7 billion. Global Infrastructure Partners was also part of the team buying a stake in Peel Ports Group, one of the UK’s largest port operators.


Digital Infrastructure Investor of the Year

WINNER: KKR

SECOND PLACE: Stonepeak
THIRD PLACE: CDPQ

Digital triumphs for KKR in 2021 included a partnership with Telefónica in Colombia and Chile, which allowed the firm to make significant inroads into the countries’ fibre-optic markets.

Meanwhile, KKR also invested in MetroNet, North America’s largest independent fibre-to-the-home platform, and added European fibre to its portfolio, with both Open Dutch Fiber in the Netherlands and FiberCop in Italy. Elsewhere, the firm remained active in the data centre market, acquiring US operator CyrusOne for $11.49 billion alongside Global Infrastructure Partners.


Social Infrastructure Investor of the Year

WINNER: iCON Infrastructure

SECOND PLACE: InfraVia Capital Partners
THIRD PLACE: Vauban Infrastructure Partners

London-based fund manager iCON Infrastructure acquired 95 percent of UK mobile surgery operator Vanguard Healthcare Solutions in 2021. Since its acquisition by iCon, Vanguard has achieved several important milestones, including the completion of a modular surgical hub in London; a contract for a large modular rental opportunity in Sweden; and the integration of Young Medical, a newly acquired Dutch business specialising in the design and delivery of modular healthcare facilities.


Powering up: Ardian goes big into hydrogen with Article 9 fund launch

Sustainable Investor of the Year

WINNER: Ardian

SECOND PLACE: Partners Group
THIRD PLACE: Meridiam

Ardian continues to be at the vanguard of sustainability, with highlights in 2021 including a partnership with FiveT Hydrogen to launch an Article 9 fund with a target of €1.5 billion. The 50/50 joint venture was selected from 10 fund managers to manage a clean hydrogen infrastructure fund backed by TotalEnergies, Air Liquide and Vinci Concessions. The fund, which in October last year had already secured commitments of more than €800 million, will invest globally along the entire hydrogen value chain.


Mid-Market Investor of the Year

WINNER: iCON Infrastructure

SECOND PLACE: Partners Group
THIRD PLACE: Basalt Infrastructure Partners

iCON wasted no time after closing its latest flagship on $1.9 billion in October 2020. More than half of Fund V has already been deployed across seven deals, five of which were bilateral and four near-full ownership stakes. Deals spanned digital infrastructure in Europe, with BornFiber and Strategic Fiber Networks; North American transportation, with Iowa Interstate Railroad and Conrac Solutions; waste-to-energy with Green Recovery Projects; and clinical infrastructure with Vanguard Healthcare Solutions.


Listed Infrastructure Investor of the Year

WINNER: AMP Capital

SECOND PLACE: CBRE Investment Management
THIRD PLACE: Atlas Infrastructure

The AMP Capital Global Listed Infrastructure strategy has delivered returns of 24.1 percent over the past 12 months, and the business continued to place its faith in airports. This performance ranked first in the Mercer Investment Performance Survey of Global Listed Infrastructure and Morningstar Australian Institutional Sector for Global Listed Infrastructure. The firm believes that listed infrastructure provides investors with the benefit of liquidity, transparency and diversification.


Innovator of the Year

WINNER: Ardian

SECOND PLACE: Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners
THIRD PLACE: Amber Infrastructure Group

Ardian has developed a suite of technological products using digital technology and, in some cases, artificial intelligence to improve asset performance and end-user experience, and to reduce carbon emissions. Examples include the use of AI to forecast electricity prices; Air Carbon, a digital tool that tracks airports’ CO2 emissions; and Car Carbon, which Ardian is developing in collaboration with Ascendi, Waze and Wintics to monitor CO2 emissions across its roads portfolio.


Bank of the Year

WINNER: Crédit Agricole CIB

SECOND PLACE: Santander
THIRD PLACE: Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation

Crédit Agricole was part of the £5.5 billion ($7.4 billion; €6.5 billion) financing for Dogger Bank A and B offshore wind farms in the UK, which together are the largest such sites in the world. The bank also led an innovative €2.9 billion refinancing of German railcar group VTG, which excluded all railcars that transport fossil fuels and petrochemical products. Crédit Agricole is pushing the boundaries on sustainability, sitting on the Hydrogen Council and setting up a hydrogen task force to work on hydrogen opportunities.


Law Firm of the Year

WINNER: Clifford Chance

SECOND PLACE: White & Case
THIRD PLACE: Herbert Smith Freehills

Clifford Chance advised on 98 infrastructure deals in 2021, with an aggregate value of more than $68 billion. Highlights included CDPQ’s £1.6 billion ($2.2 billion; €1.9 billion) acquisition of a 30 percent interest in ATC Europe, American Tower’s European business, and the OTPP-led consortium’s $1.25 billion investment in renewable energy developer Equis Development. The firm also advised longstanding client 3i Infrastructure on its acquisition of UK manufacturer SRL Traffic Systems and its acquisition of a 60 percent stake in German fibre business DNS:NET.


Corporate Trust Services Provider of the Year

WINNER: Deutsche Bank

SECOND PLACE: HSBC
THIRD PLACE: Wilmington Trust

A busy year saw Deutsche Bank work on 66 project-financing transactions worth more than $17 billion. Highlights included a first-of-its-kind green project bond with a corporate power purchase agreement to fund three Luxcara wind farms in Finland; North America’s largest solar-plus battery project, involving Terra-Gen at Edwards Air Force Base in California; and supporting EIG’s creation of a new electricity supplier through the acquisition of EDF’s only gas-fired power station in the UK.