John Laing Infrastructure plays down risks to public revenues

Michael Bow
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JOHN Laing Infrastructure Fund yesterday talked down the risks that government policy shifts on public-private partnerships (PPP) posed to the fund as it reported a further £53.5m of asset purchases this year.

The fund said material risks to the portfolio from any government policy changes on public-private initiatives were lessened by the coalition’s commitment to future infrastructure spending.

It also reassured investors yesterday that its 27.5 per cent stake in Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Greenwich, backed by the troubled South London NHS Trust, was safe from default.

This is despite ministers having to parachute administrators into the trust to shore it up.

JLIF fund manager David Marshall said: “In our contracts we are well protected. We’re very comfortable with the credit side of things.

“On government policy, we’re an interested spectator. Critical infrastructure needs to be delivered to boost the economy and a great deal needs to be privately financed.”

The fund, which floated on the stock market in 2010, reported its portfolio value had increased 18 per cent to £449.4m from £380.4m in December, after making six new acquisitions.

It currently holds 35 assets in the public sector, all predominantly backed by government revenue streams.

“As JLIF is an investor in operational PPP projects, changes to existing PPP policy will not impact JLIF for a number of years,” the fund said yesterday in a report to the market.