AXA Investment Managers–Real Assets is making its first direct investment in UK infrastructure, agreeing to buy 15% of Agility Trains West from John Laing for close to £230m (€260m).

Agility Trains West will finance, own and maintain 57 new Hitachi Class 800 intercity express trains.

The trains are subject to a government-backed 27.5-year usage guarantee and will be maintained by Hitachi.

The bi-modal trains can operate on electrified railway tracks and non-electrified tracks by generating their own electricity using on-board engines.

The investment adds to AXA IM–Real Assets’ existing €5bn infrastructure debt and equity portfolio.

Mark Gilligan, who joined as head of infrastructure equity 18 months ago, said: “This is our first UK infrastructure equity investment. We focus on underlying earnings, and Agility Trains West falls squarely within our investment objectives.”

Gilligan said the deal follows its first equity infrastructure investment made in 2016, involving the A63 toll road in southwest France.

“Our London and Paris based team is now very much in business to continue building our managed infrastructure equity programme,” he said.