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UK infrastructure fund backed by NAPF completes first investment

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The UK’s Pension Infrastructure Platform (PIP) has completed its first investment, acquiring part of a nearly 50% stake in a holding company for private finance initiatives (PFIs).

The PIP – which in February announced the launch of its first, £260m fund following several years under development by the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) and Pension Protection Fund (PPF) – bought part of a 49.9% stake from the pension fund for construction company Interserve.

In a statement by Dalmore Capital, manager for the fund, it said that Interserve PFI Holding consisted of 13 assets, including schools, government accommodation and projects overseen by the UK’s Ministry of Defence.

While the asking price for the assets was not disclosed, the Interserve pension fund acquired ownership of 19 PFI assets in late 2012, when the sponsor transferred a portfolio worth £55m to address an existing deficit.

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The investment was completed in conjunction with the Dalmore Capital Fund II.

Michael Ryan, manager of both the Dalmore and PIP vehicles, said the PIP’s inaugural investment built on the firm’s “strong existing relationship” with Interserve.

“We believe it demonstrates once again our ability to execute complicated deals and to partner with contractors and facilities managers for mutual benefit,” he said.

Jonanne Segars, chief executive of the NAPF, added: “It is great news that the PIP has been able to make this investment into low risk, index-linked investments so quickly after reaching first close.”

The acquisition comes a few months after IPE reported that three of the platforms’ 10 founding investors had decided to withdraw their support for the undertaking.

The London Pensions Fund Authority and BAE Systems cited displeasure with the platform’s risk/return profile as the reason for pulling out, while the BT Pension Scheme said it desired to continue with its own direct infrastructure investment programme.

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