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Strathclyde targets Glasgow Airport as it ramps up infrastructure holdings

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Strathclyde, the UK’s largest local authority fund, is bidding to acquire a stake in Scotland’s Glasgow Airport, as the £13.5bn (€16.5bn) scheme further expands its infrastructure holdings.

A spokesman for Strathclyde confirmed the fund’s interest to IPE, while the €30bn Partners Group said reports of its involvement in the consortium, as well as that of Zurich Airport, were accurate.

Strathclyde’s potential acquisition of Glasgow Airport would further expand its infrastructure portfolio and existing commitments.

The fund in December approved a £32m commitment to Lloyds Bank UK Infrastructure Partners, an investment that would grant Strathclyde a seat on the vehicle’s advisory committee and allow it to achieve its final target of £250m in capital.

Sitting within its New Opportunities Portfolio (NOP), Strathclyde’s commitment would be drawn down over a four-year period, according to a presentation by executive director of financial services Lynn Brown, with self-liquidation within five years of the final drawdown date.

Brown said the investment had “a number of attractive features”.

She added: “It is run by an established team, which has been very successful in this sector for nearly 15 years and has completed 72 infrastructure transactions, 71 of which have now been successfully realised.”

The commitment would also see Strathclyde take on construction risk, although the presentation outlined that these would be “mitigated”.

The presentation concluded by asking the investment to be approved, adding: “The proposal offers the opportunity to invest in a fund with substantial visibility in respect of its seed investments, with the transactions being sourced and monitored by a very successful and experienced team.”

The commitment now reduces the remaining capital within Strathclyde’s NOP to £90m, excluding its £100m in seed capital to the Pension Protection Fund-backed Pensions Infrastructure Platform.

In a separate presentation from the same meeting, Brown outlined that Dalmore Capital, the manager appointed last December to manage the PIP’s assets, would invest “primarily” in the secondary public private partnership market.

“The fund will target secondary equity stakes in traditional areas such as health, education and transport and also OFTOs (Offshore Transmission Operators)” the presentation said.

“Alongside other stakeholders, this means the fund will receive a contracted level of income payments, based on the availability of the asset.”

Brown also outlined that the PIP would have the option to invest “a small proportion in ungeared PPP or solar projects”, noting solar farms’ “very high” inflation-linkage.

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