2020 Agenda

 

  • 08:00

    Registration & Networking Breakfast

  • 09:00

    Inframation Welcome

    Brendan  Malkin
    Brendan Malkin
    Editor Europe, Inframation News
  • 09:05

    Opening Keynote Address: Our Uncertain Economic Future

    Views from renowned economist Paul Johnson on the current geo-political environment and how it could impact investors.

  • 09:35

    Panel: Infrastructure investing in a time of upheaval

    Europe continues to be a destination of choice for infrastructure investors from across the globe. Deal activity in 2019 was robust and fundraising remained strong. But political, environmental, regulatory and fiscal factors have driven infrastructure investors to fine-tune their strategies.

    • How great a concern is the threat of a global recession for infrastructure investors?
    • Is the UK market still attractive despite its political and regulatory risks?
    • Do you predict a change in the ownership of European utilities amidst regulatory pressures?  
    • What were the stand-out deals of 2019 and what can the infrastructure investing market learn from them?

  • 10:30

    Morning refreshment and networking break

  • 11:00

    Keynote Presentation

    • What more can be done by gas and electricity regulators to improve cooperation and information exchange between each other
    • What further steps are needed to ensure Europe becomes a decarbonised energy system?
    • How far off is Europe from having an EU-wide Internal Gas Market?
    • What further advances are needed for regulation governing district heating sector across Europe?
  • 11:15

    Keynote Address

    The UK’s water industry regulator Ofwat has taken a hard look at the plans of companies in the sector for the next five years. Its judgement has always been tough and water infrastructure investors hoping for a more favourable start to the new decade will have been disappointed. Ofwat chairman Jonson Cox sets out the thinking behind the watchdog’s review and determination and explains his vision for the role of public utilities. 

    • What should infrastructure investors expect from regulation in the new decade? 

    • To what extent must public utilities develop a social role and what are the challenges inherent in demonstrating their value to the public? 

    • What should be the purpose of a modern utility? 

  • 11:45

    Panel: Are European regulators treating Utilities unfairly?

    Privately-owned utilities claim to be excellent value for money, particularly given their ability to innovate to save customers’ costs and reduce carbon emissions. But regulators in Sweden, the UK and Germany and elsewhere in Europe are cutting their allowed returns. Are regulators getting the right balance of protecting consumers and adequately remunerating investors? 

    • What are the best examples in Europe of utilities being innovative in order to maximise customer value for money and protect the environment? 
    • Despite cuts to allowed returns utilities still pay decent dividends to infrastructure fund, suggesting that regulators are right to cut these returns. Who is right? 
    • What’s the lessons from events in Germany in which thousands of utilities of all sizes took the German energy regulator to court over large reductions in allowed equity returns? 
    • What can governments do more of to protect the future of utilities, given their vital importance in national economies? 

  • 12:30

    Panel: Pension funds go large

    From the Nordics to the UK, new platforms and pools have sprung up to facilitate super-sized pension fund investments into infrastructure. Are these vehicles ready to compete with their Canadian and Australian counterparts and how will fund managers balance increasing allocations with a preference for low-risk and new rules on ESG compliance and responsible investing? 

    • Which European countries are creating the best environment for pension funds looking at infrastructure, and why? 
    • More than a year after eight pension pools were formed in the UK, expectations building around their infrastructure ambitions 
    • Domestic deals will be favoured first but increasing appetites will push pension funds into new areas. How far up the risk spectrum can they go? 
    • Greenfield risk versus secondary market opportunities across Europe: who is selling, who is buying? 
    • Personnel changes – how are teams being restructured 

    Eugene Zhuchenko
    Eugene Zhuchenko
    Founder, ETORE Advisory
  • 13:15

    Networking lunch

  • 14:15

    Panel: Is buying portfolios the best way forward for airport investors?

    In the race for scale in the airports space, the big question on investors’ minds is whether to target individual assets or portfolios. Some investors have targeted individual airports with little luck, while others have seemingly had great success from platform deals. 

    • Airports in regions such as CEE and japan provide big returns, particularly potential future hubs. But are they worth targeting individually given the challenges involved in doing so? 
    • Investors have seen on paper great success from doing platform deals, but do the numbers stack up given the highly competitive nature of such deals? 
    • Vinci Airports now owns 46 airports, double the number just five years ago, through a mix of platform and individual deals. It now wants to buy Groupe ADP, owner of a large stake in TAV. What’s its perspective on the platform vs individual asset deal? 

    David  Delgado-Romero
    David Delgado-Romero
    Partner, Meridiam
    Mark Weighell
    Mark Weighell
    Senior Vice President, Skylark Consulting Group
  • 15:00

    Panel: Infra lending - more dynamic but riskier?

    Infrastructure lending is becoming increasingly dynamic as private equity-style infrastructure funds seek to adapt LBO structures, a transition which has recently led to the sector’s first hybrid financings. Meanwhile debt funds retain a healthy appetite for long tenor and increasingly expensive loans. But how resilient is the market, and is now a time for some belt-tightening?

    • Is there scope for further expansion of the private placement market, particularly one in which institutional act as exclusive lenders on deals?
    • Do you forecast an increase in the number of mid-market deals priced at 300-400bps, particularly in sectors such as care homes that institutionals have not yet got comfortable with?
    • Describe a typical LBO-style hybrid deal and explain why managers prefer them over traditional infrastructure financings?
    • Are lenders acting more cautiously as Europe’s economy slackens, and interest rates decline amidst faltering inflation?
    • What opportunities are there for hedge funds in Europe’s infrastructure finance market?

    Alejandro Ciruelos
    Alejandro Ciruelos
    Managing Director, Project & Acquisition Finance, Santander
    Jean-Francis Dusch
    Jean-Francis Dusch
    Chief Executive Officer and Global Head of Infrastructure, Edmond de Rothschild Asset Management
  • 15:45

    Afternoon refreshment and networking break

  • 16:15

    Keynote: Transforming the UK's Fibre Broadband Market

    Few people know more about developing fibre networks than Greg Mesch. After a successful career developing fibre networks for the likes of Versatel and euNetworks, in 2011 Greg co-founded UK fibre business CityFibre. After raising capital though a London listing, in 2018 the business was sold in a take-private to Goldman Sachs and Antin Infrastructure. Today, CityFibre plans to install fibre in 5 million homes across 50 cities in the UK by 2025.

    • How do you overcome challenges facing fibre installers in the UK, including multiple fibre builders and construction risks
    • Do you think the government is creating the level playing field CityFibre and peers need to challenge the incumbents?
    • What’s your vision for the continued expansion of CityFibre beyond 2025?
  • 16:30

    Panel: Smart cities and the opportunity for next generation fibre owners

    Investors in communication technology stand at a crossroads. After spending years building high-speed broadband networks many are now getting to grips with how to adapt this technology to the ‘smart’ cities and towns of the future. But government policy is uncertain. What are the future opportunities and challenges for these early players in 5G, smart cities and Industry 4.0?

    • What stage is Europe at today in the linking of fibre to sensors that underpin smart cities?
    • Which sectors are preparing to slot into the growing smart city opportunity and why?
    • What are the ideal funding models for the next wave of fibre investment and where will the post-2020 deals emerge?
    • How supportive have governments been and what more can they do to assist in the rollout of smart cities and NextGen fibre?
    Stefan Barrow
    Stefan Barrow
    Diretcor, MUFG
  • 17:15

    Networking cocktail reception