LONDON Feb 26 HICL, one of Britain's
biggest listed infrastructure investment funds, is looking to
raise up to 167 million pounds ($252 million) to pay off debt
and free up resources for new projects.
HICL, which invests in public infrastructure and concessions
such as hospitals, roads and schools, said on Tuesday it will
issue 100 million new shares at 119.5 pence, a 5.7 percent
discount to Monday's close.
Of those, 65 million will be offered to investors at a rate
of one new share for every 15 share held. The offer will be
raised to 140 million new shares if there is demand, said HICL,
which announced on Jan. 31 it would look to raise funds.
HICL has a portfolio of 79 investments worth 1.17 billion
pounds in sectors such as education, health, law enforcement,
transport, and utilities, mainly in Britain, Canada, Ireland,
and the Netherlands.
Tony Roper, team head of secondary infrastructure at
InfraRed Capital which acts as investment adviser to the fund,
told Reuters the new investments HICL was eyeing were mainly in
Britain and in "social and transportational" sectors.
"The pipeline of new investment opportunities we are seeing
is very healthy and some of those are at quite advanced stages."
Infrastructure has become popular with institutional and
individual investors because it can provide steady income
streams from sources such as road tolls and inflation-indexed
Investing in infrastructure is also increasingly encouraged
by governments seeking to boost private sector financing as they
struggle to cut spending and limit public debt.
Approximately half HICL shares are in the hands of retail
investors, Roper said, adding he expected to see two or more new
institutional investors buying in during the capital raising.
HICL shares were down 1.0 percent at 125.5 pence in late
trading, in line with levels prior to the Jan. 31 announcement.