Preqin Real Assets Spotlight – North American Infrastructure Market

Using data from Preqin’s Infrastructure Online, we examine the North American infrastructure market, including fundraising, deals and investors’ future plans in the asset class.

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North American Infrastructure Market

North America currently represents the largest infrastructure fundraising market in the world. With the aggregate capital raised focused on the region in the past 10 years reaching $178bn, it remains well above the next largest market, Europe ($119bn, Fig. 1). The region is also home to the seven largest firms by total capital raised for unlisted funds in the last decade. In addition, nine of the 10 largest unlisted funds ever closed are primarily targeting the region, accounting for nearly a fifth (19%) of all unlisted infrastructure capital secured.

Recent governmental changes in the region have prompted further interest in investment in North America. This is exemplified by the announcement of Blackstone Group’s Blackstone Infrastructure I fund which is targeting $40bn in capital commitments and launched with a record $20bn cornerstone commitment from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund – this anchor commitment alone would make it the largest infrastructure fund ever raised.

North American Infrastructure Market

Fundraising

The North America-focused infrastructure fundraising landscape has varied over the past 10 years, with the market experiencing a relatively strong recovery after the Global Financial Crisis. As seen in Fig. 2, 2016 saw a record high in fundraising when 23 funds reached a final close, securing $33bn in capital commitments, of which Brookfield Infrastructure Fund III secured $14bn. This year is on track to match or even surpass last year’s record, with 12 funds having closed so far this year, raising an aggregate $20bn. This fundraising success has been bolstered by the closure of Global Infrastructure Partners III, which secured a record $15.8bn in investor capital.

As Fig. 3 illustrates, since 2012 the proportion of North America-focused funds closed that have achieved or
exceeded their target size has generally increased and, notably, no funds closed in 2016 secured less than half of their target size. Furthermore, half of the funds closed in 2017 so far have achieved 125% or more
of their target size.

However, the typical North Americafocused fund manager has to spend more time seeking capital from investors: the average time spent raising funds has risen slightly in the last three years to 21 months, while the global average has fallen to 18 months (Fig. 4).

Key Players

In terms of North America-focused capital raised since 2008, Northeast US-based firms dominate the fundraising landscape. Sixty-five percent ($116bn) of capital raised was secured by fund managers based in this region (Fig. 5), with New York State contributing $67bn of this total. Four of the five largest firms based in North America are all headquartered in the Northeast US, with Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) topping this list, having raised $32bn in investor capital in the past 10 years (Fig. 6). GIP currently holds the record with its latest flagship fund, Global Infrastructure Partners III, securing $15.8bn. The two next largest funds closed in the last five years are both from Canada-based manager Brookfield Asset Management: Brookfield Infrastructure Fund III ($14bn) and Brookfield Infrastructure II ($7bn).

Other key infrastructure firms:

  • Northeast US: Firms based in Washington DC have secured a combined $19bn in the past 10 years for North American infrastructure investment, second only to New York ($67bn).
  • West US: Ares EIF Management and Oaktree Capital Management, both headquartered in Los Angeles, have collectively raised $3.7bn in the past 10 years across two funds.
  • Southwest US: Three Dallasheadquartered firms – Tailwater Capital, Panda Power Funds and Energy Spectrum Capital – have raised $4.6bn in capital commitments in the last decade across seven funds.
  • Southeast US: With three North America-focused funds closed in the past 10 years securing $1.6bn, Miami’s Apollo Aviation Group has raised the most of any city in the Southeast US.
  • Midwest US: Omaha-based Tenaska Capital Management’s Tenaska Power Fund II has secured $2.5bn in capital commitments, the largest amount raised in the past 10 years of any Midwest US-based firm with a primary focus on North American infrastructure.
  • Canada: Toronto is home to eight fund managers which have secured $24bn in North America-focused capital in the last decade, including Brookfield Asset Management which has raised $21bn of this total.

North American Infrastructure Market

Attracting Capital And Funds In Market

The launch of Blackstone Infrastructure I, which is targeting a record $40bn, has captured the world’s attention – it is Blackstone’s first unlisted fund specifically targeting the infrastructure market, although it has prior experience in the market through the firm’s owned subsidiary, Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners.

This vehicle is just one of 47 North America-focused unlisted infrastructure funds in market on Preqin’s Infrastructure Online; combined, they are targeting $79bn in capital commitments. The average target size is $2.4bn per fund, although with the Blackstone fund excluded this falls to $1.2bn.

Deals And Exits

North American infrastructure transactions have accounted for an average of 30% of deals over the past decade, second only to European activity (39%). Since 2012, the estimated aggregate deal value of North
American assets has consistently exceeded $200bn, and in the last two years has been above $250bn, at an all-time high of $353bn in 2015 (Fig. 9).

North American Infrastructure Market

The number of deals in the region accelerated rapidly post-crisis from 277 completed deals in 2008 to a peak of 651 in 2014. While fewer deals were completed in 2015 and 2016, both totals are significantly higher than any year from 2008 to 2012.

As the infrastructure market globally, but particularly in North America, begins to mature, older first-mover funds holding secondary stage (or potentially brownfield) assets are beginning to be realized. Preqin’s Infrastructure Online recorded 63 exits in 2008, rising to over 300 annually from 2014.

However, with only 214 completed transactions in 2017 so far (as at August), full-year deal flow could lag behind recent totals. This is potentially a result of rising asset pricing, as 59% of investors interviewed by Preqin in June 2017 believed pricing was the key issue facing the industry.

Energy is the dominant sector for North American infrastructure activity, accounting for over 60% of all deals in the region since 2014 (Fig. 10). While the majority of energy activity in recent times has centred on renewable energy assets, conventional energy transactions consistently account for the largest proportion of reported aggregate deal value.

As the infrastructure market globally, but particularly in North America, begins to mature, older first-mover funds holding secondary stage (or potentially brownfield) assets are beginning to be realized. Preqin’s Infrastructure Online recorded 63 exits in 2008, rising to over 300 annually from 2014.

North American Infrastructure Market

Article by Preqin