Registration and refreshments
Opening remarks and market overview
World view in 2021: Picking and accessing the key investment destinations
For some time now, the infrastructure asset class has been a firm favourite with LPs across the globe as the first stop on the alternatives journey; and this will continue as investors look for consistent returns at a time of uncertainty in the investment sphere. Competition for deals is fierce, and the new realities of COVID-19, coupled with the impact on transport and other core sectors – firm favourites with investors – were always likely to make the last 12 months a testing time for infrastructure players around the world. A panel of experts discuss the latest opportunities in the US, Europe, and Asia, the type of assets to be contested in the new normal which are less effected by slow market recovery, how the pandemic changed the infrastructure investing landscape, and what LPs should do to achieve a balanced portfolio.
- When and where are we likely to see governments increasing infrastructure spending?
- Which geographies should global investors with an appetite for risk look at over the next five years?
- How to pick between greenfield and brownfield investments, and open-ended and closed-ended funds?
- How are GPs managing and reporting on ESG in their investments?
- How are investors in the US, Europe, and Asia approaching the deal market?
- When do we expect to see a rise in activity, and where is infrastructure heading post COVID-19?
Networking coffee break
Japan: Spotlight on the deal market
Finding investable deals in the domestic market has certainly been challenging. However, investors in Japan’s environmental and digital infrastructure businesses are upbeat and keenly monitoring sectors such as offshore wind, 5G, and smart cities for opportunities to rebound from a lacklustre 2020. Industry watchers say that offshore wind power will be the biggest driving force in the move to increase the use of renewable energy in Japan. Many offshore wind deals – now in the early stages – could potentially be realised, and expectations are high among overseas investors that these will eventually come to market. That said, the question remains whether the infrastructure market will see a seismic shift that delivers more deals offering returns that are attractive to private capital. A group of investors discuss the outlook, where they will be investing, and what the industry needs to do to develop and emulate other large mature economies.
- Where are the opportunities for GPs, and what is in the pipeline for deals?
- How can investors participate in airport and offshore wind power projects?
- How can the market evolve to attract mainstream infrastructure players?
- Is Japan all about renewables, or are there other assets that are accessible for investors?
- What returns are being delivered, and how does this match investor expectations?
- How do investors evaluate the government’s initiatives to boost the renewables sector?
Spotlight on renewable energy: When, where, and how to invest
Renewable energy has proven resilient to COVID-19, with investors looking to the sector as a viable place to both secure growth in a low growth environment and make large commitments. With this in mind, which sectors of renewables are most investable – hydro, solar, wind, or newer energies – where are the best investments globally, how are deals being executed, and where does Japan fit in as a viable deal market? Will the momentum of the climate change agenda result in a more sustainability-focused approach and significantly increase long-term investment in renewable infrastructure, and has the pandemic accelerated the global transformation towards renewable energy? In this session, a panel of experts discuss which technologies, projects, and funding structures stack up for investors, as well as the market conditions for returns.
- What are the macroeconomic issues facing the energy market?
- Which sectors face the most risk over the next decade?
- What is the outlook for deals and valuations?
- How do investors strategize between hydro, solar, wind, and the newer energies?
- How have renewables performed throughout the pandemic?
The rise in demand for infrastructure credit and debt
Many GPs have raised considerable credit and debt funds recently and found the deal pipeline to be strong, with a steady flow of investments across the risk spectrum and capital structure seeing opportunities to finance assets effected by the pandemic and a range of growth strategies. Naturally, there is growing appetite among LPs for debt strategies, as they search for portfolio diversification, as well as strive to combat the J-Curve and achieve consistent yield at a time of market uncertainty. A panel of debt experts discuss the evolving opportunities, and how LPs can take advantage of this gap in the market both at home and abroad.
- What are the different debt strategies available to LPs?
- How does the risk profile compare between senior and mezzanine opportunities?
- Where are the best debt opportunities globally?
- What type of assets are seeing a rise in demand for infrastructure credit following the pandemic?
- What types of cash yields can investors expect?
Finding deals in a competitive market: Harnessing disruption through non-core opportunities
A crowded core infrastructure space, high valuations, and large volumes of dry powder have driven GPs to look beyond the traditional investments that have sustained the industry pre-COVID-19. By potentially avoiding the auction processes and identifying non-core opportunities, especially in sectors that have benefited from the disruption brought about by the pandemic, fund managers can provide a real competitive advantage. However, funds must be transparent about their strategies and risk appetite. They may also require specific expertise at the GP level to deliver operational value creation to enhance the growth of an asset that is stretching the infrastructure definition, and ultimately improve performance and deliver a strong return. In this session, a panel of investors debate the non-core infrastructure model and how they are pivoting their approach to deal sourcing as they look to harness the power of disruption.
- Which sectors provide the best non-core deals in the current climate?
- What return expectations should LPs expect from these types of riskier assets?
- How is the need for value creation being managed with assets that require a hands-on operational approach?
- How has the pool of investable companies evolved, and what does this mean for the traditional infrastructure model?
- Does the rise of digital represent a new growth opportunity, and where is infrastructure heading post-COVID-19?
Networking coffee break
The institutional investor: The next steps on the infrastructure journey
In recent years, institutional investors in Japan have increased allocation in infrastructure and broadened their thesis to look at non-core opportunities, greenfield investments, and a mix of open-ended and closed-ended funds. As LPs consider their next steps, disruption to traditional infrastructure assets will no doubt factor into their thinking as they look to pivot and remain proactive. In this session, a group of experienced LPs share their experiences of a COVID-19 world, tips for new entrants on how to initiate an infrastructure investment programme, and how they plan to build and oversee their portfolio to manage risk while capitalising on the opportunities present in 2021 and beyond.
- How should you select your next investment, and what type of GPs are winning commitments?
- Is ESG playing a larger role in asset allocation, and how do LPs monitor performance?
- How much of a concern is the amount of dry powder to LPs?
- How have LPs been dealing with travel constraints and the challenges of executing due diligence?
- How should international funds approach domestic LPs when fundraising, and has this been affected by the pandemic?
- How have Japanese LPs’ investing strategies been affected and adjusted following COVID-19?
Closing keynote address
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