Axa IM moves into UK rail infrastructure

Axa Investment Managers has made its first infrastructure equity investment in the UK by taking a stake in a train owning company.

The €260 million investment will see Paris-based Axa IM acquire 15% of Agility Trains West from John Laing.

Agility Trains West will finance, own and maintain 57 new Hitachi Class 800 intercity express trains for use on the Great Western mainline between London, Wales and south-west England.

A heavily delayed investment programme means that electrification of the track between Wales and London has been only partially completed.

For that reason, the new trains are bi-modal for use on electrified railway tracks but, when running on sections of track which are not yet electrified, can be switched to burn diesel fuel.

The trains are subject to a government-backed 27.5 year usage guarantee and will be maintained by Hitachi.

The investment will add to Axa’s existing €5 billion infrastructure debt and equity portfolio managed on behalf of clients.

Mark Gilligan, head of infrastructure equity at AXA IM – Real Assets, said: “We focus on underlying earnings and Agility Trains West falls squarely within our investment objectives.

“This follows our initial investment in the A63 toll road in south-west France and builds on our high-quality, core transportation portfolio. Our London and Paris based team is now very much in business to continue building our managed infrastructure equity programme.”

©2018 funds europe

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