JLIF signs £180m credit facility

The London-listed PPP investment firm has taken advantage of favourable market conditions to agree a low-cost five-year deal.

John Laing Infrastructure Fund (JLIF), the FTSE 250 infrastructure investment firm which focuses on public-private partnerships (PPPs), has signed a new five-year £180 million (€247 million; $285 million) revolving credit facility.

The facility has been agreed with Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), HSBC Bank, ING Bank (ING) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia. It replaces an existing £150 million facility with RBS, ING and Lloyds TSB Bank.

The margin on the new facility is 1.75 percent over LIBOR [London Inter-Bank Offered Rate]. The margin and associated commitment fees are described by JLIF as “significantly lower” than on the previous facility, which had a margin of between 2.30 percent and 2.75 percent depending on the LTV [Loan to Value] ratio.

The new facility includes an additional £100 million accordion capability, on which no fees are payable until it is used, and which gives JLIF the flexibility to target larger transactions should they become available.

The facility will be used mainly to fund acquisitions and will be repaid through equity issuance. JLIF is allowed to raise debt of up to 25 percent of its total assets. The latest facility is described as “additional resource” rather than “structural financing”.

“Given current favourable market conditions, JLIF has taken the decision to refinance its revolving credit facility,” said Andrew Charlesworth, investment adviser to JLIF, in a statement. “This opportunity allows JLIF to secure a larger funding facility at materially lower costs, providing the fund with the capacity to move into its next phase of international growth.”

Towards the end of last year, JLIF’s £1 billion bid for UK developer Balfour Beatty’s PPP portfolio was rejected. JLIF described Balfour Beatty’s claim that the bid undervalued the portfolio as “difficult to understand”.

On July 1, David Marshall, who had worked alongside Charlesworth as an investment adviser, retired from the firm. He helped steer the firm from a market capitalisation of £270 million at launch to around £900 million by the time he stepped down.