2019 Agenda

  • 08:00

    DELEGATE REGISTRATION & NETWORKING BREAKFAST

  • 09:00

    INFRAMATION NEWS WELCOME

    Jon Berke
    Jon Berke
    Editor, US, Inframation News
  • 09:05

    FIVE CHARTS ON INFRASTRUCTURE M&A

    Inframation Deals Head of Research reveals some of the key trends to watch in the market.

    Dan  Davies
    Dan Davies
    Head of Research, Inframation Deals
  • 09:15

    OPENING PANEL DISCUSSION: STATE OF INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTING

    In 2018, the lion’s share of capital markets activity, unsurprisingly, resided in brownfield transactions and refinancings - overall, USD 111.61bn in deals closed compared to last year’s USD 69.22bn. This momentum in dealmaking will intersect a flood of capital that is rushing into the North American market. Globally, roughly USD 80bn was raised in unlisted funds last year while a little more than half of that (USD 45bn) was raised in North America - a 40% increase in activity from last year (USD 32.6bn). Activity continues to center around infrastructure funds that are expanding into energy and core-plus sectors, such as telecom businesses.

    Unique to financing structures among infrastructure deals recently is the use of term-loan B refi’s that have allowed power investors to free up cash for equity distributions and a new solar revenue put that was the catalyst for Ares recent purchase of a solar portfolio. Real estate derived revenues are also becoming a more popular strategy to fund refurbishment and improvement projects for port and airport assets.

    Delegates will have the opportunity to hear panelists discuss the latest trends in financing transactions, unlocking value from assets, working with LPs on raising capital and other issues of the day.

    • What does the brownfield and M&A pipeline hold for investors over the next year?
    • How are infrastructure players closing transactions in the transportation sector?
    • What strides is the renewable energy industry making?
    • Assessment of leveraged loan market for asset refi’s and acquisitions. 
  • 10:00

    KEYNOTE ADDRESS: CANADA INFRASTRUCTURE BANK AS A NEW TOOL FOR INFRASTRUCTURE PARTNERSHIPS AND INVESTMENTS

    Investors anticipate the Canada Infrastructure Bank will be a catalyst for new investment models and partnerships between the public and private sectors. Moreover, the complexity of transactions, greater deployment of usage and revenue-based business models, a new unsolicited proposal approach and innovative financing mechanisms are other tools becoming commonplace in Canadian infrastructure deal making. Delegates will have an opportunity to hear Nicholas Hann, head of investments for the Canada Infrastructure Bank, discuss the CIB’s mandate and its utilization of CAD 35bn in federal government capital to leverage new investments in infrastructure.

    Topics that will be explored include how the CIB will 

    • Encourage new models for infrastructure investment and risk transfer?
    • Foster a market that utilizes revenue-risk transactions?
    • Attract the private sector to play a larger role in infrastructure?
  • 10:15

    PANEL DISCUSSION: STEADY LP DEMAND BOLSTERS STRONG FUNDRAISING ROUNDS

    The environment remains competitive for private infrastructure fund managers as investors continue to increase their allocations to the asset class. LPs in particular are making larger commitments to infrastructure funds so they may gain access to highly coveted co-investment rights. The eternal goal to monetize and improve assets has, as always, prompted project developers to keep close the phone number of distinguished fund managers deploying capital in their respective sector.  

    The flow of funds in North America brings good tidings to LPs and project developers. According to Inframation Deals, 19 funds closed in 2018, outpacing 2017’s 14 closes. New entrants, such as Brookfield’s largest first close of a USD 14bn super core infrastructure fund and Blackstone’s open-ended fund will ensure valuations continue to grow.

    Delegates will have an opportunity to hear panelists discuss how the fundraising environment is shaping M&A transactions, brownfield development and partnerships. 

    • When directly investing in a project, what value proposition do LPs offer developers and operators?
    • Outlook on asset valuations, rates of return, use of leverage, co-investment rights, fund manager selection and governance challenges of open-end vs closed-end funds.
    • How will the competitive landscape change as infra funds specialize, i.e. infrastructure debt funds and renewable funds?
    • With an influx of newer entrants into the market are LPs willing to diversify their GP commitments beyond the name brands and why?
  • 11:00

    MORNING REFRESHMENTS & NETWORKING BREAK SPONSORED BY MACQUARIE

  • 11:30

    KEYNOTE ADDRESS: SEAPORT INVESTMENTS ON THE WAY

    Roughly 99% of goods that are exchanged in international trade between the United States and its trading partners at some point passes through the former’s seaports. No wonder the port and shipping industries have persuaded federal government officials to fund infrastructure upgrades and
    expansion. Members of the American Association of Port Authorities were certainly vociferous last summer in lobbying Congress to fund the 2019 Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development program, Marine Highway Program and Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements program. Market observers believe the renewed programs will spur additional investment activity in aging port assets in the
    coming months and years.

    Delegates will hear AAPA President & CEO Kurt J. Nagle discuss the current state of American ports and how operators will look to team with the private sector and specifically infrastructure investors in improving seaport assets.

    • What are port operators looking for in prospective infrastructure investors?
    • How badly will tariffs and trade restrictions affect the port business?
    How will government support of port and multimodal infrastructure assets shape investment and M&A dealmaking?

  • 11:45

    PANEL DISCUSSION: DEAL EXECUTION TRENDS IN TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE

    In one of the more interesting trends of the last year or two is stakeholders’ ability of unlocking value from an infrastructure asset’s real estate to improve, refurbish and buildout existing assets, such as airports, marine terminals and rail. It has become a critical funding strategy. Presently, airport investors have turned their attention to the potential privatization of the St. Louis Lambert International Airport, as it could possibly become a model to structure future privatizations in the future.

    Activity has picked up around port assets as well. According to Inframation Deals, 2018 produced eight closed port transactions in North America, which exceeded 2017’s total of five. One of the reasons activity has picked up is vertically integrated port owners are seeking out financial partners to improve operational efficiencies. What port related opportunities will present themselves to infrastructure funds in the foreseeable future? 

    Delegates will hear panelists discuss the usage of real estate as a funding mechanism for improving and refurbishing infrastructure assets.

    • How are infrastructure investors structuring real estate revenue streams to improve various assets? How will portfolio risks be changing as funds wade into real estate?
    • Will US DOT reform the permitting process to make port deals more attractive? Can the same be said of the FAA’s airport privatization program? What of other transportation assets?
    • How are infrastructure investors helping port owners improve operations?
    • How will the ongoing “trade war” among the Chinese, Americans and others affect container shipping and related port revenues?
    • Is there an opportunity for more deals in toll roads in the US?
    Marlon  Smith
    Marlon Smith
    Managing Director, JLC Infrastructure
    Mat  Goldsmith
    Mat Goldsmith
    Partner, P5 Infrastructure
  • 12:30

    NETWORKING LUNCH SPONSORED BY CIBC

  • 01:30

    PANEL DISCUSSION: INFRASTRUCTURE GOES DIGITAL

    The 13 brownfield telecom deals in 2018 far surpassed 2017’s 5. Fixed lines, wireless transmission, data centers and other types of assets have been in the cross-hairs of infrastructure investors this year and going into next judging from the industry’s pipeline. The impending rollout of 5G technology and consumers’ insatiable appetite for mobile data means there will be plenty of demand for refurbishing and expanding broadband infrastructure. Investors are also busy looking at data centers, fiber optics, cell towers, billboards and the like. Interestingly, the advent of micro data centers and Infrastructure-as-a-Service represent opportunities as demonstrated by Vapor IO’s recent initiative to deploy several kinetic edge data centers across US metro areas. 

    Panelists will discuss the risks and opportunities around telecom assets.

    • What value propositions and resources are telecom companies discovering in partnering with infrastructure investors?
    • How are infra investors structuring brownfield and refi transactions, particularly as offtaker agreements could vary in fiber deals?
    • What opportunities does 5G and micro data centers represent for communication infrastructure investors?
    • Assessment of data centers, fiber optics, cell towers, billboards, etc.
    Susie  Henderson
    Susie Henderson
    North America Leader, Infrastructure Investment & Economics, GHD
  • 02:15

    FIRESIDE CHAT: OIL & GAS INFRASTRUCTURE BOTTLENECK BODES WELL FOR INVESTORS

    The energy infrastructure needed to assuage the oil and gas industry’s Permian and US Gulf of Mexico production will come online in 2019 and into the early 2020s. Opportunities will abound for infrastructure investors. For instance, the developers of liquefaction trains, some operational and some under construction, at Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass LNG and Dominion’s Cove Point LNG are embarking on efforts to line up eager financial sponsors. If one also considers FERC’s push to review project applications in a timely manner, dealmaking activity could soar. 

    Aside from mezzanine structures, term-loan B financings, if the market continues its current tear, will be the debt instrument of choice to close transactions, as Global Infrastructure Partners’ decided to do when it acquired EnLink Midstream in July 2018. Also, MLPs and C-Corp midstream asset owners could seek out unconventional growth equity deals, such as wall-crossed and preferred equity offerings, from infra funds.

    Delegates will have an opportunity to listen to KKR’s head of North American Infrastructure Brandon Freiman answer questions from Kevin Sheridan, Partner at Mayer Brown about opportunities in the Permian and other hot oil and gas plays.

    • How are infrastructure funds competing with private equity firms in acquiring midstream assets?
    • Deal structure – how are infrastructure funds and investors negotiating effective dates, value leakage, target capex, tax issues, etc.?
    • What equity structures are infrastructure funds offering midstream companies, such as wall-crossed, preferred equity, etc? How is debt capital being structured for midstream deals?
    • What midstream assets, fuels and basins are infrastructure investors targeting?
    • Outlook on LNG, especially considering growing Asian and East Europe demand and the creditworthiness of offtakers
  • 02:45

    AFTERNOON REFRESHMENTS & NETWORKING BREAK SPONSORED BY MACQUARIE

  • 03:15

    PANEL DISCUSSION: WINDS OF FORTUNE FAVOUR RENEWABLE ENERGY

    Both wind and solar energy have reached critical milestones in becoming more mainstream sources of energy for the North American market. The offshore wind industry has finally alighted upon the US East Coast following European developers' long trek from across the Atlantic Ocean. Just recently EDF Renewables, Ørsted and others submitted bids for a 1.1 GW offshore wind solicitation for off the coast of Atlantic City.

    Solar too is making strides as brownfield activity within that segment has been consistent within the last several years while a new options contract, a Solar Revenue Put, has hit the market. In November, Ares EIF was able to close its IGS Solar portfolio acquisition with a term loan from ING Capital as stakeholders cited the solar revenue put as a reassurance to enhance returns and reduce risk.

    The good news for players in both subsectors is that 2018 has seen corporations purchase 7.2GW of clean energy beating last year’s record by nearly 2GW. The buyers are out there.

    Panelists will discuss the progress offshore wind projects have made on paper in the Northeast. 

    • When can the market expect wind generation from offshore turbines?
    • What financing structures are stakeholders using to monetize and trade assets? 
    • How has the renewable energy industry overcome and/or addressing challenges, such as intermittency and political challenges?
    • What new technologies are infra and energy players now exploring as wind/solar becomes more efficient and returns diminish?
    Amir Akhtar
    Amir Akhtar
    Director, Project Finance and M&A, Canadian Solar
    Steve  Cheng
    Steve Cheng
    Partner, Global Infrastructure Partners
  • 04:00

    PANEL DISCUSSION: ELECTRIC TLB MARKET, FALLING POWER PRICES FIRE UP GENERATION BUSINESS

    Recently, power investors have increasingly tapped the term-loan B market to refinance their generation and transmission assets, which have come under pressure from torpid power prices and flatlining electricity demand. This market predicament has had a knock-on effect of reducing or eliminating equity distributions thanks to stringent term-loan A covenants, once the favored source of financing for power investors. Yet, what glitters like gold today may lose its luster tomorrow as investors have found the shine coming off TLAs. Now, market observers are expecting investors to grow their utilization of the scorching red-hot TLB market because of its lower cash-sweeps, tighter pricing and looser covenants, which are literally paying dividends. However, what were to happen to the pipeline if a few deals get downgraded or the credit markets undergo tough bouts of volatility? 

    Aside from generating returns from generators, panelists will discuss other opportunities and challenges facing the power business such as creating new revenue streams, technological disruption, net metering and growing operational costs.

    • Outlook on term-loan B market for refi’s, recapitalization of dividends, tighter pricing and lower cash sweeps.
    • When a correction strikes credit markets how will power infrastructure investors and developers maintain returns and ensure operational profitability?
    • How are investors and operators dealing with declining demand for power, shifts in net-metering trends, growing cost of capital and other challenges?
    • Will legislative changes in alternative ratemaking mechanisms put the power industry in a stronger financial position? 
    • Are contrarian investors wise to taking positions in coal-fired power plants?
    Nick  Barlow
    Nick Barlow
    Head of Specialized Acquisition Finance, Americas, NAB
  • 04:45

    CLOSE OF CONFERENCE & DRINKS RECEPTION SPONSORED BY WINSTON & STRAWN