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This is what will happen

Infrastructure Investor describes six key developments in 2012. Mark our words.

In the days between Christmas and New Year, we shall be offering up some choice festive treats in the form of predictions for 2012 from a selection of leading infrastructure asset class professionals. Before then, we offer six of our own insights into the future. These will likely be considered less than serious – until they come true, that is.      

1. As a European infrastructure fund manager issues a press release announcing its new investment in a regulated utility, the regulator issues a simultaneous announcement to the effect that the terms of the deal described in the fund manager’s press release have changed with immediate effect. Asked for comment, the fund manager says nothing surprises it any more. Some limited partners begin to re-designate regulated utilities as “opportunistic” investments. 

2. The debut infrastructure fund from InfraPenny Partners proudly announces a first close after a six-year capital raising exercise. Asked to describe his experiences on the fundraising trail, InfraPenny chief executive Bob Cratchit laughs hysterically and then breaks down in tears. Composing himself, he describes the fund’s 0.01 percent management fee as “harsh but fair”.        

3. Describing itself as the new Puerto Rico, which had previously described itself as the new Illinois, Ohio says a stream of PPPs is set to come online any time now, just be patient. Sensing an imminent breakthrough, Virginia, Texas, Missouri and even Wisconsin all jostle for the title of the new Ohio (as and when something happens in Ohio – which it surely will, pretty much tomorrow in fact). After the ‘West by Northwest’ went south, no one wants to be the new Georgia – but several probably will be. 

4. Fund managers and their advisers, having for months wrestled with the all the possible implications that may arise from a Eurozone break-up, are left stunned when an amicable breakthrough is found that appears to keep the markets happy and even preserves Greece’s membership. Never in the history of the infrastructure asset class has so much collective brainpower been expended to so little purpose. Well, almost never. 

5. The last remaining government in the world not to have called for greater pension involvement in the long-term financing of infrastructure finally caves in and agrees with everyone else that this is definitely the way forward. So what can possibly stop it from happening now? What’s that about regulation? Oh dear. The UK begins hatching plans for a PFI mark 3, which cynics claim bears more than a passing resemblance to PFI mark 1.  

6. The Infrastructure Investor Awards 2011 are widely proclaimed to have been the biggest and best ever. You will have contributed to this happy outcome by voting here.  A very happy holiday season and prosperous 2012 to you all from the team!