Italy’s largest construction group, Salini Impregilo, has launched what it calls "a beauty contest" to find financiers to partner with in delivering big infrastructure schemes around the world.
It says the global market is worth $100bn over the next five years, but it wants to target public-private partnership (PPP) schemes in countries with low risk profiles, such as Australia, and countries in Western Europe and North America.
Massimo Ferrari, Salini’s general manager for finance, said in a conference call earlier today that the group had sent out invitation letters to investment funds.
A source close to the matter told GCR that letters had been sent to Antin Infrastructure Partners, based in London and Paris, KKR and Apollo Global Management of New York, Ardian of Paris, Switzerland’s Partners Group and Macquarie of Australia.
Ferrari commented: "Direct investment in infrastructure is becoming more attractive to investors, partly due to low interest rates that are reducing the cost of financing projects and encouraging long-term investments."
The company announced its results for 2019 yesterday. These showed that revenue fell slightly, from €5.4bn to €5.3bn, and pre-tax profit remained at €423m. Net debt fell €310m to €631m and new orders were €8.1bn.
As well as launching its initiative in the PPP market, Salini in continuing with its "Progetto Italia" plan to consolidate Italy’s infrastructure sector, which in practice means its continuing plan to take over Astaldi, Italy’s second largest builder (see further reading, below).
Image: One of Salini’s 2019 wins was the planned high-speed railway between Houston and Dallas (texascentral.com)