“Project finance has always been an international practice, but over the past two years this has become even more prominent – a major trend we believe will continue into 2015.
Of course, cross-border transactions have always involved international sponsors, but the recent internationalisation of the project finance market has enabled this to go one step further by also internationalising the providers of infrastructure debt. Previously, only a very limited number of institutional investors tested the infrastructure debt market via bond or loan formats, and only did so when close to their home base. Today, however, the broadening of the institutional investor base, alongside the demand for transactions and additional yields, has led to the globalisation of infrastructure debt investment. This has had a profound consequence on the role of banks, and will continue to do so.
Now, the specialism of regional teams goes beyond the investment product, meaning they’re able to channel global interest from investors for their projects. This is the underlying rationale for the development of infrastructure debt platforms where long-term partnerships, servicing agreements and/or one-by-one transaction bank relationships are constituting the interface between projects sponsors and institutional investors. At Natixis, through our infrastructure platform, we are attracting interest for the asset class in both the euro and US dollar, from investors based in Asia, the US, Australia or the Middle East. And we can confidently predict that the profile of debt investors will become much more diversified in the near future. 2015 looks bright indeed.”
Anne Christine Champion is global head of infrastructure and projects at France-based corporate and investment bank Natixis.