For an infrastructure fund to grow its portfolio, it needs to be able to act fast and acquire suitable assets when they become available. That’s why the John Laing Environmental Assets Group (JLEN) sought a GBP 50 million revolving acquisition facility to invest in renewable energy, waste and waste water infrastructure projects.
Despite stiff competition, NIBC was selected to act as original lender, together with HSBC. “This facility was a necessary part of our growth plan,” says Chris Tanner, Director at John Laing Capital Management and Investment Advisor to JLEN. “We needed to have it in place so that we can act quickly when we buy environmental infrastructure assets, which is what we are set up to do.”
JLEN is an independent environmental infrastructure fund established by the leading British infrastructure developer and asset manager John Laing. Set up in 2014 and listed on the London Stock Exchange, JLEN invests in environmental infrastructure projects, which can include renewable energy projects including the fast-growing wind and solar sectors, as well as waste and water processing and energy efficiency. From the start, NIBC impressed JLEN with its pragmatic approach.
“We had the impression NIBC would be easy to work with, which proved to be true. This was valuable to us we because we wanted to close the transaction relatively fast,” Tanner says. It also helped that NIBC had worked with John Laing before on public-private partnership (PPP) projects and that we are both active in the renewable energy sector, where there is a demand for infrastructure to facilitate the shift towards cleaner power sources such as the sun, wind and biomass.
Our familiarity with both the company and the sector gave JLEN the confidence to work with us on this transaction. “NIBC knows our business model and they certainly know the underlying assets, which makes them easier to work with. Banks who aren’t familiar with these kinds of assets take a different approach, which is not always in our best interest,” says Tanner.
“NIBC approached it in the right way, they didn’t push for unnecessary terms and where areas of disagreement arose they worked constructively with us to reach compromises that we were both happy with. It was certainly one of the better transactions I’ve been involved in.”