In 2012, the top 100 infrastructure investors (by committed capital) primarily focused on developed markets, specifically Europe (78%) and North America (61%). As of July 2013, this remains relatively unchanged with 71% of the current top 100 investors targeting European investments and 64% targeting North American assets. These geographic preferences are unlikely to change significantly going forward as the risk/return profile of assets in these geographies remains attractive, strengthened by relatively secure regulatory frameworks.
Beyond these developed infrastructure markets, appetite for investments in Asian assets has significantly increased among the top 100 investors over the past 12 months. Forty-five percent of the top 100 infrastructure investors have a specific preference for Asian infrastructure. Appetite for South American assets has also showed a marginal increase, rising to 21% from 20% in 2012. However, interest among the top 100 investors in African infrastructure has fallen to 9% which is indicative of the continuing high risk environment in the continent.
Industry preferences remain largely similar to last year. Core infrastructure assets are the most sought after by the top 100 investors, with 80% open to investments in utilities and waste management in particular. Appetite for energy investments among the top 100 investors has increased to 86% in 2013. Interest in transportation assets has decreased to 77% in 2013 and the amount of investors in the top 100 looking at social infrastructure assets has risen significantly to 57%.
Project stage preferences have changed somewhat in the past 12 months with a slightly lower proportion of investors investing across all project stages (67%). Eighty-seven percent of the top 100 investors are open to brownfield investments, a figure that remains unchanged on last year. Top 100 Investor appetite for greenfield assets has decreased marginally to 80% from 81% in 2012 and appetite for secondary stage assets has increased to 82% in 2013. These figures are likely to remain broadly similar in future due to the inherent construction risks associated with greenfield projects, although the general shortage of attractive and investible brownfield assets around the world may have an impact.