UK - HSBC Infrastructure Company (HICL), the London-listed trust that has BT Pension Scheme as a major shareholder, has acquired a controlling interest in a provincial UK fire rescue private finance initiative (PFI) project.
The £3.8m (€4.5m) 33.5% debt-and-equity investment brings the trust's stake in the Dorset Fire & Rescue PFI project up to 67%.
It follows the acquisition in December of a 33.5% interest in the asset, with 26 infrastructure projects previously managed by Barclays infrastructure Funds Management.
The recent deal is in line with the £797.8m trust's practice of acquiring incremental stakes in social infrastructure PFI projects as they become available.
A spokesman for InfraRed Capital Partners, which manages the portfolio, said: "Generally speaking, they wouldn't see having a major stake as the end of the matter. If you like an asset and you get economic value from it, then why wouldn't you acquire as large a stake as possible?"
HICL's UK-dominated portfolio comprises just over 70 PFI and public private partnership (PPP) assets, mostly operational but with three still under construction.
The average concession life is 23.7 years.
"There is no appetite for construction risk," said the spokesman. "HICL is interested in the operational end."
The trust, which counts among its top 10 holdings the Dutch high-speed rail link and the M80 motorway, the UK Home Office, a garrison and six hospitals, also has a mandate to invest in assets of "possible secondary interest", including regulated utilities and renewables, if these can secure long-term income streams comparable with those associated with PFI projects.
However, the spokesman said HICL was unlikely to diversify into pure infrastructure assets, not least because it would expose the portfolio to macro risk.
"As it is, there is a clearly defined investment case," he said. "Investors know what they're getting."
Later this month, HICL will issue equity with a view to raising enough cash to pay off the debt used to acquire the Fire & Rescue and other social infrastructure assets.