Alternatives in 2019: Infrastructure Deal Activity Stalls

by Naomi Feliz

  • 08 Feb 2019
  • INF

In 2018, 2,454 infrastructure deals were made worth a total $322bn. Preqin expects 2018’s figures to rise by up to 5% as more information becomes available. The year represents a slowing in activity from 2017, which saw 3,165 deals made for a total of $387bn.

Renewable energy increasingly accounts for the bulk of infrastructure investments, going from representing 45% of deals completed in 2016 to accounting for 57% of infrastructure deals in 2018.

Additionally, the largest deal completed in 2018 was the sale of Innogy to E.ON SE for €20bn – the largest renewable energy deal ever completed.

Europe deal activity surpassed that of North America, as 859 deals were made in the region worth a total of $152bn, while 801 transactions were made worth an aggregate $78bn. 

Key infrastructure deals facts:

  • In 2018, there were 2,454 deals worth a total of $322bn. This is a decrease from 2017 which saw 3,165 deals made worth $387bn.
  • Renewable energy accounted for over half (57%) of deals completed, up from 45% in 2016. Deals made in social infrastructure dropped, making up just 6% of deals in 2018 down from 18% the previous year.
  • ON SE acquired Innogy for €20bn, making it the largest deal in 2018 as well as the largest renewable energy deal ever.
  • The second largest deal made this year was the acquisition of Direct Energie by Total for €14bn – this deal is also the second largest renewable energy deal ever.
  • Europe recorded 859 deals worth $152bn, surpassing deal activity in North America which recorded 801 transactions worth $78bn.
  • The proportion of deals less than $100mn has continued to drop, with deals of that size accounting for 45% of transactions in 2018, down from 53% in 2016.
  • Secondary stage deals accounted for 64% of deals in 2018, while greenfield accounted for 33% of transactions and brownfield made up 4% of deals.

Preqin’s Patrick Adefuye, Head of Real Assets, commented: “Following a peak in 2016 which saw a record amount of capital invested in infrastructure, the industry has seen deal activity decrease year-on-year. The number of deals made in 2018 has declined from 2017, posing a particular challenge at a time when fundraising is at record levels. The influx of capital has put upwards pressure on asset pricing, and has made finding attractive opportunities more difficult for many managers. On the flipside, renewable energy has had a stellar year, accounting for over half of deals made, and the two largest deals made this year were also the two largest deals in renewable energy ever made.”

The 2019 Preqin Global Infrastructure Report is due for release in late January, which contains more detailed deals and exits data, as well as comprehensive data on fund managers, fundraising, investors, performance and much more. In the meantime, please take a look at our 2018 Infrastructure Deals Update or browse Insights for more of our recent research.

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