Inside S&P Global Ratings IFR Outlook H1 2019: Political uncertainty, sustainability and ESG

S&P Global Ratings has published 2019’s first edition of Infrastructure Finance Outlook, its newsletter of key infrastructure and project finance-related research and ratings news.

In this edition, S&P Global Ratings considers global infrastructure investment trends, spanning China, the GCC and the Americas, along with the regulatory and political risk factors across these regions.

With global political uncertainties on the rise, infrastructure investors are even more focused on long-term sustainability. And, as environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations are rising to the fore of investment strategies, the credit rating agency dedicates this edition to providing greater insight to its newest offering, the ESG Evaluation.

Please see the full newsletter in PDF here.

Natixis runs books for first green and sustainable syndicated loan for European independent power producer, covered by specialist press

Natixis acted as mandated arranger, sole coordinator, bookrunner and sustainable development coordinator for the issuance of a €100 million loan by French power producer Voltalia – the first green and sustainable syndicated loan for a European independent power producer.

“By supporting Voltalia in this new operation, Natixis confirms its long-term commitment with this client, and its determination to deliver innovative solutions underpinned by its strategic commitment to green and sustainable finance based on three pillars: innovation, service and integrity” said Marc Vincent, Global Head of Corporate & Investment Banking and Member of the Senior Management Committee, Natixis.

Following outreach by Moorgate, the news was covered by the following specialist publications: Environmental Finance, FinanzNarichten, DGAP, Renewables Now, Bloomberg, La Mia Finanza, Il Sole 24 Ore, PV Magazine, IJGlobal, TXF, Solarnews and EticaNews.

Natixis and Groupama Group launch innovative green insurance product

Natixis has teamed up with Groupama Gan Vie, a subsidiary of the Groupama Group, to launch the first green structured note that is entirely supportive of the energy transition. The move reflects both groups’ proactive approach to the fight against climate change.

The product offers a means to directly finance renewable energy projects in order to ensure more environmentally-respectful energy production. The funds collected will be invested exclusively in wind, solar, hydraulic and biomass projects that respect responsible management criteria. The structured not will be issued by Natixis and launched on 1 May.

Elie Bitton, Head of EMEA Sales and Global Head of Financial Engineering, Natixis Global Markets, said: “We are proud today to be able to offer an investment solution that is 100% committed to the climate, and we thank Groupama for its trust and confidence in this high-profile operation.”

Following outreach from Moorgate, news of the launch was covered by El Asesor FinancieroNoticias CanariasStructured Retail ProductsInternational AdvisorCompelo and Investment Europe.

S&P Global Ratings publishes its latest edition of Global Infrastructure Finance Outlook

What key trends do infrastructure investors face in 2019? For one, nationalist and populist movements are on the rise – creating an environment of heightened political risk, which investors may find hard to navigate. The result could weigh heavily on regulatory stability, as well as country risk or sovereign credit quality.

In tandem, environmental, social, and governance (ESG) matters are beginning to rise in prominence. Increasingly, investors are stepping up their focus in their investment mandates on companies that are seen as acting more sustainably.

Against this backdrop, the latest edition of Outlook keeps investors abreast of the most-read research from the past quarter – offering insights into how the Infrastructure segment is changing and, importantly, how it may yet evolve.

Outlook is available in PDF here

Moorgate compiles, edits and designs Infrastructure Finance Outlook.

S&P Global Ratings’ analysts discuss the latest trends for transportation infrastructure in an interview with IREI

A changing geopolitical landscape could adversely affect traffic volumes in the transportation infrastructure sector, as U.S.-China trade tensions escalate and Brexit approaches.

S&P Global Ratings’ analysts recently spoke to Drew Campbell, i3 senior editor, IREI, about the ramifications for transportation assets.

Specifically in the case of Brexit, one possible outcome is increased spending to balance any downside. S&P’s analysts respond: “As U.K lawmakers attempt to offset the prospects of slower economic growth following Brexit, investment in infrastructure could accelerate.”

Read the article here

S&P Global Ratings’ Julyana Yokota outlines the emerging trends for airport assets in Airport World article

With Brexit fast approaching and merger and acquisition (M&A) activity on the rise, S&P Global Ratings’ senior director, Julyana Yokota, explores what 2019 may have in store for airport operators.

The primary consideration is Brexit. “Questions remain over how the impact of Brexit could hinder traffic growth – most notably for UK airport operators,” writes Yokota.

M&A activity continues to represent a key trend. In France, for instance, a recent law has permitted the sale of stakes in Aerports de Paris – the operator of the Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports. France-based infrastructure group Vinci, which currently holds an 8% stake in ADP, is keen to pursue this opportunity.

Read the article here

S&P Global Ratings details infrastructure default and recovery statistics in landmark studies; covered by the specialist press

S&P Global Ratings has published two comprehensive studies of defaults and recoveries in the infrastructure sector.

The first report found that infrastructure sector experienced net positive rating movements in 2017, with 114 upgrades and 87 downgrades – reversing the negative trends seen in 2015 and 2016.

The second report, which explores defaults and recoveries between 1995 and2016, found that the 10-year cumulative default rate for unrated project finance bank loans was 6.3%, though this figure drops to 5.85% when only core sectors are considered. The default rate is lower still for public-private partnership (PPP) projects, including the U.K.’s PFI scheme (5.6%), which according to S&P demonstrates these schemes’ comparatively lower-risk nature.

The same report also concluded that the annual default gap between OECD and emerging markets has narrowed over the past decade – a probable result of the financial crisis, which affected advanced economies more.

Following Moorgate’s outreach, Global Capital, Project Finance International, and TXF covered the news (these items sit behind paywalls).

RedRidge Diligence Services explores the latest trends in trade and project finance due diligence in TXF

Growth in regulation impacting lending, along with rapid globalization have put pressure on capital providers’ due diligence capabilities. Pair this with the inherent complexity of trade and project finance transactions and it is clear why many capital providers are now choosing to outsource their due diligence. Matt Reed, Associate Director at RedRidge Diligence Services, explains the trends in the sector.

Read the full article here

Will the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) model be restored under a new guise? S&P Global Ratings’ report covered by the specialist press

On October 29th the U.K. government announced that the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) model for future projects will no longer be used – potentially making a significant shift for the means through which public projects are funded.

However, a new report published by S&P Global Ratings suggests that any resultant financing routes are unlikely to be game changing. Instead, they believe PFIs could still be used, albeit under a different guise.

Following Moorgate’s outreach, FT advisor , TXF News, and Public Finance covered the news.

Proposition 112: S&P Global Ratings outlines the credit negative impacts for Colorado-based utilities before critical vote; covered by the specialist press

On the recent November ballot, Colorado’s citizens voted against measures that would have changed the nature of the state’s oil and gas development. Before the vote’s defeat, S&P Global Ratings published a report outlining the possible risks for energy exploration and production (E&P) companies, should the proposal be made law.

Proposition 112 would have required that E&P companies extend well setbacks (the permissible distance between a wellhead and surrounding structures) from 500 feet to 2,500 feet. This distance would have, in effect, rendered 85% of the state unusable for oil and gas drilling. By some estimates, this could have decreased the state’s GDP by some US$26 billion annually by 2030.

Michael Grande, director, S&P Global Ratings, said: “Passage of Proposition 112 is clearly a credit negative for the energy companies we rate, and it will affect some companies more than others.”

Following Moorgate’s outreach, Upstream (behind a paywall), Oil Voice, and Oil Gas Journal covered the news.