Infrastructure Investor Awards 2023: North America

Infrastructure Investor Awards 2023: North America

Fund Manager of the Year

Winner: Brookfield Asset Management

Second place: ArcLight
Third place: DigitalBridge

Brookfield boasted a number of standout achievements over the past year, including its groundbreaking $15 billion deal with Intel, which saw the firm enter a joint partnership with the tech giant to construct a $30 billion semiconductor facility in Arizona. Brookfield also won plaudits for its latest $8.2 billion acquisition of nuclear services business Westinghouse alongside Cameco and the $2.8 billion renewables portfolio it acquired from Duke Energy. Meanwhile, its latest flagship closed with $30 billion of commitments in December, making it the largest closed-end private infrastructure fund ever raised. The vehicle will target investment opportunities related to three mega-trends: digitalisation, decarbonisation and deglobalisation.

Equity Fundraising of the Year

Winner: Goldman Sachs Asset Management

Second place: Sandbrook Capital
Third place: Neos Partners

Goldman Sachs Asset Management raised $4 billion for its latest infrastructure fund in October, closing West Street Infrastructure Partners IV on target and making it one of the largest funds to close in a challenging fundraising environment. The fund targets value-add, mid-market assets, with 30 percent earmarked for energy transition businesses. Around $2.3 billion has already been invested in eight companies, including Cincinnati-based renewable natural gas start-up Synthica; Portland-based utility-scale battery storage developer and operator GridStor; and Iowa-based fibre broadband provider ImOn Communications. The fund is significantly larger than its predecessor, which closed on $2.5 billion in 2017. In September, the firm also held a final close on $1 billion for its debut infrastructure secondaries fund, Vintage Infrastructure Partners I.

Deal of the Year

Winner: Intel (Brookfield Asset Management)

Second place: Switch (DigitalBridge, IFM Investors)
Third place: Bridging Pennsylvania Partners (Macquarie Capital, S&B USA Concessions)

The Global Deal of the Year is also the Deal of the Year for North America: Brookfield’s innovative partnership with tech giant Intel, which sees Brookfield investing up to $15 billion for a 49 percent stake in the US chip manufacturer’s expansion at its Ocotillo campus based in Chandler, Arizona.

Brookfield Infrastructure Partners has already secured binding non-recourse financing to fund a significant portion of its capital investment, and estimates that the equity portion for this investment will cost between $500 million and $750 million. The equity will be phased over the construction period and Brookfield will be protected from any development costs, having agreed with Intel guaranteed payment for the entirety of the capital provided.

Power & Utilities Deal of the Year

Winner: Westinghouse Electric Company (Buyers: Brookfield Global Transition Fund, Cameco Corp. Seller: Brookfield Capital Partners IV)

Second place: Columbia Gas and Columbia Gulf Transmission (Buyer: Global Infrastructure Partners. Seller: TC Energy)
Third place: Aera Energy (Buyers: CPP Investments, IKAV. Sellers: Shell, ExxonMobil)

Brookfield was on both sides of the $8.2 billion Westinghouse Electric Company deal, which was acquired by Brookfield’s Global Transition Fund and uranium producer Cameco, and sold by Brookfield Capital Partners IV. The nuclear services company said the transaction cemented the significant role it plays in enabling clean and secure energy goals, welcoming Brookfield’s global leadership across carbon-free energy technologies and Cameco’s deep experience in the front-end fuel cycle, which complements Westinghouse’s capabilities in fabrication and services. The deal follows a five-year repositioning of Westinghouse after Brookfield acquired it out of bankruptcy in 2018. The sale has generated around $1.4 billion of proceeds for the firm’s LPs.

Energy Transition Deal of the Year

Winner: Commercial Renewables (Buyer: Brookfield Asset Management. Seller: Duke Energy)

Second place: Broad Reach Power (Buyers: ENGIE. Sellers: EnCap Investments, Apollo Global Management, Yorktown Partners, Mercuria Energy)
Third place: PearlX (Antin Infrastructure Partners)

Brookfield acquired Duke Energy’s unregulated utility-scale Commercial Renewables business (renamed Deriva Energy) in June 2023. Valued at around $2.8 billion, it is the largest transaction in North America by renewable capacity, per Brookfield. A fully integrated developer and operator of renewable power assets in the US, Deriva Energy has 5.9GW of operating and under construction wind, utility scale solar and storage assets, and a 6.1GW development pipeline.

Transport Deal of the Year

Winner: Direct ChassisLink (Buyers: GIC, OMERS Infrastructure, Wren House. Seller: Apollo Global Management, EQT)

Second place: Skyway Concession Company (Buyer: Atlas Arteria. Sellers: CPP Investments, OMERS Infrastructure)
Third place: Bridging Pennsylvania Partners (Macquarie Capital, S&B USA Concessions)

GIC, OMERS Infrastructure and Wren House jointly acquired chassis provider Direct ChassisLink from Apollo and EQT. Direct ChassisLink enables the road transportation of containerised freight to and from ports, rail yards and customer locations.

Founded in 2012, it has more than 151,000 marine and 100,000 domestic chassis in its fleet. The trio of investors are seeking to capitalise on the rise of intermodal transportation, as companies seek to drive down transportation costs. Apollo originally acquired its majority stake in the company from EQT and Blume Global in 2019, with EQT retaining a 20 percent stake.

Digital Infrastructure Deal of the Year

Winner: Intel (Brookfield Asset Management)

Second place: Switch (DigitalBridge, IFM Investors)
Third place: GigaPower (BlackRock, AT&T)

The onshoring of critical components has become a major political theme in recent years, with semiconductors at the heart of the debate. A global chip shortage precipitated a drive to regain supply chain control, reinforced by the Chips and Science Act, designed to mitigate dependency on foreign chip production and rebuild American leadership in the semiconductor industry. Brookfield was among the very first infrastructure investors to seek to capitalise on this trend, partnering with Intel to expand its onshore chip production.
Meanwhile, the deal also set an important precedent, insulating Brookfield from any development costs, with a guaranteed payment agreed with Intel for the entirety of the capital provided.

Power & Utilities Investor of the Year

Winner: I Squared Capital

Second place: Brookfield Asset Management
Third place: ArcLight

I Squared Capital’s power and utilities investments included the acquisition of a controlling stake in the Whistler Pipeline, a core energy infrastructure system connecting natural gas supply in the Permian Basin to an LNG facility, as well as Mexico and Gulf Coast demand.

Whistler Pipeline has the capacity to transport up to 2.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day, enough to power up to 15 million homes. The deal was valued at more than $4.75 billion. I Squared also completed a growth capital investment in Texas-based RPower, a developer and owner of behind-the-meter microgrid projects that provide resiliency-as-a-service to commercial and industrial users in critical infrastructure sectors.

Energy Transition Investor of the Year

Winner: Brookfield Asset Management

Second place: Climate Adaptive Infrastructure
Third place: Generate Capital

Brookfield continued to deploy its Global Transition Fund I, with recent energy transition deals including the acquisition of Duke Energy’s unregulated, utility-scale Commercial Renewables (renamed Deriva Energy) business, which includes a 5.9GW solar, wind and battery storage project portfolio, as well as an additional 6.1GW in the development pipeline.

It launched the second iteration of the Global Transition Fund in the second half of 2023 while continuing to pursue other deals such as its agreement to commit up to $500 million in CalBio to invest in scaling renewable natural gas and other waste-to-energy opportunities.

Transport Investor of the Year

Winner: Stonepeak

Second place: Macquarie Asset Management
Third place: Oaktree Capital Management

Stonepeak spent 2023 adding to its already significant transport and logistics portfolio.
Last year, Stonepeak acquired Textainer, taking the business private in a $7.4 billion deal. Headquartered in Bermuda, Textainer is one of the world’s largest lessors of intermodal containers.

The firm also acquired Logistec Corporation, alongside Blue Wolf Capital Partners, in a $1.2 billion take-private deal. The company operates in 60 ports and 90 terminals in the region. In addition, Stonepeak’s existing transport and logistics company Lineage agreed a flurry of additional M&A deals last year.

Digital Infrastructure Investor of the Year

Winner: Brookfield Asset Management

Second place: DigitalBridge
Third place: Apollo Global Management

Digital infrastructure highlights for Brookfield in 2023 included the acquisition of data centre operator Compass from RedBird Capital Partners and Azrieli Group. Compass currently operates, or is developing, around 16 data centres across the US, Europe and Israel. It also has a modular facility offering and plans to develop an 11 million-square-foot data centre campus in Virginia.

In further data centre additions, Brookfield agreed the $775 million acquisition of Cyxtera, merging the bankrupt US-based group with its Evoque colocation brand, to create a combined company with more than 50 locations. As part of the deal, Brookfield acquired the real estate at seven of Cyxtera’s US data centres from their landlords.

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