Australian infrastructure group Infratil has committed £120-130m (€141-152m) to a London data centre business, with plans to expand its portfolio to £500m in the medium term.

Infratil will obtain a 40% stake in Kao Data with current owners Legal & General and Kao Data founder Goldacre retaining a 30% stake each in the business.

Jason Boyes, Infratil’s chief executive officer, told a briefing that Infratil’s capital would, in the first instance, go to fund the construction of a second Kao data centre at the company’s Harlow campus.

It would also fund the acquisition of two other data centres, located close to Harlow, from a major UK financial services group.

With plans in hand to build two more data centres at the Kao Harlow campus, Boyles said this would bring the portfolio in the medium term to six, offering a total of 55MW capacity catering to a highly-specialised area of high-performance computing.

“Clearly, both L&G and Goldacre have the financial firepower between them to develop Kao to any scale they want, but what they have both looking for is a partner with deep hands-on, scaling and building data centre business,” he said.

Since 2016, Infratil had owned Australia’s leading data centre business, Canberra Data Centres (CDC) in Australia’s national capital, Boyles said. “They find in our CDC experience and our long-term growth approach a good match.

Lee Myall, CEO of Kao Data, said: “This investment presents a strategic opportunity to accelerate our mission of supporting the computing requirements of advanced industries, and to do so sustainably.”

Matteo Colombo, strategic capital investment director at Legal & General Capital, said: “Kao is fast becoming one of the UK’s leading computer providers to the life sciences and financial services sector, among others, delivering critical infrastructure to enable a productive and inclusive society.”

David Bloom, a founding partner at investment firm Goldacre, described the transaction as a “landmark moment for Kao Data”, both for the continued growth of the firm and for the development of the wider data centre industry.

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