A UK-based infrastructure fund has made its first move into the United States and is planning further investment across the pond as it becomes less focused on home soil.
John Laing Infrastructure Fund (JLIF), a FTSE 250-listed company, has agreed a deal to acquire a 100 per cent interest in Project Service, which provides 23 highway service areas in Connecticut, between New York and Boston.
JLIF has purchased the interest from Carlyle Infrastructure Service Plazas, Doctor’s Associates and Subcon for around £72m. The acquisition marks JLIF’s first entry into the US public-private partnership (P3) market and will take its total number of assets to 61.
The firm said the US “may represent a significant source of growth for JLIF over the medium and long term”.
Andrew Charlesworth, director of John Laing Capital Management and investment adviser to JLIF, told City A.M. the company is now seeking out further deals in the US and other countries away from the UK.
“We’re seeing less competition, more opportunity for value, outside of the UK,” he said. “We’re not actively therefore seeking to migrate our investment profile. It’s more a case of: Where can we access really good value investments? And at the moment the best-value investments are outside of the UK.”
Asked why there had been growing interest in the UK, leading to more competition and less perceived value, Charlesworth said: “I think there’s a growing interest in infrastructure, full stop. So it’s not necessarily an increased interest in the UK… I think infrastructure investment has become far more popular across the world.”
Asked what impact he believes the upcoming EU referendum is having on infrastructure investment in the UK, he said: “I think that overseas investors looking to invest in the UK currently are probably being slightly patient until after the referendum is over. It’s not very far away now. And frankly making any decision today would be probably be foolhardy if you can hold off.”