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Infrastructure - July 2013



    Simon Ruthers, private client manager at specialist fund manager Oxford Capital, says: “When you look at infrastructure it is a very broad church. [Chancellor] George Osborne has spoken about his spending for 2015 and beyond and one of the key elements was infrastructure.

    “In that context it is about roads, schools, hospitals and other such developments. From our perspective, infrastructure is also focused around renewable energy, and if you look at the UK market in terms of its demand for energy, there is a danger the production of energy will not keep up with demand.”

    Mr Osborne’s Spending Review last week pledged to take action “to provide the support needed to enable up to £100bn of private sector energy investment”, as well as highlighting plans for spending on high-speed rail links, road development and improvements to flood defences.

    Chris Wyllie, chief investment officer at Iveagh, adds: “There is a lot of renewables stuff coming to the market right now from a lot of players such as 3i Infrastructure, which invests in things like Anglian Water, oil storage businesses, rail-leasing businesses.

    “You get exposure across the different types of infrastructure. You can, of course, stretch the meaning of infrastructure – is a company that leases doctors surgeries really infrastructure? I would say no. Of course, they have some connection to the sector.”

    The opportunities are not restricted to the UK, with governments around the world – particularly in emerging markets – making major commitments to infrastructure spending. Thailand’s government, for example, has taken on an ambitious multi-year infrastructure spending plan which seeks to invest up to THB2trn (£42.2bn) in the next seven years.

    Matthew Dobbs, fund manager of Asia ex Japan equities at Schroders, explains: “This push in spending will mainly go towards transport, with high-speed rail projects, an extension of Bangkok’s MRT and dual-tracking of more than 2,000km of existing rail lines all forming part of the government’s vision.”

    There has been a lot of talk in recent years of the increasing opportunities in the infrastructure sector coming from emerging markets, with many suggesting they are the main source of future growth opportunities. This, however, isn’t necessarily the case.

    Ben Yearsley, head of investment research at Charles Stanley, explains: “Infrastructure investing provides the backbone of many countries – roads, airports, mobile phone masts, electricity networks and water distribution.

    “High-profile investments by sovereign wealth funds have highlighted the attraction of infrastructure – inflation-proofed cash flow from essential assets.”

    Jenny Lowe is features editor at Investment Adviser

    In this special report


    Please answer the six multiple choice questions below in order to bank your CPD. Multiple attempts are available until all questions are correctly answered.

    1. In his Spending Review, the chancellor pledged to provide the support needed to enable up to how much of private sector energy investment?

    2. Which government has taken on an ambitious multi-year infrastructure spending plan?

    3. What does PFI stand for?

    4. The latest pipeline update for national infrastructure projects estimates the worth of projects to 2015 and beyond as what?

    5. What does the acronym OECD mean?

    6. Bangkok’s MRT is expected to be extending, dual-tracking how much of the existing rail lines?

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