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Blackstone prepares to pump money into Britain

By Philip Smith

The UK will be the main beneficiary of a Europe-wide fund to back infrastructure projects

US infrastructure investor Blackstone, one of the world’s biggest private equity firms, is preparing to pump billions into Britain.

With a $14bn (€17bn, £11bn) war chest, Blackstone Infrastructure Partners is forming a London-based team. It will back deals across Europe but, specifically, in the UK, including upgrades of electricity grids, water systems and broadband networks.

It’s a post-Brexit boost for the British economy, as it starts to see an end to the uncertainty and caution experienced while the EU withdrawal process rumbled on.

“We’re quite bullish on the UK infrastructure investment environment. We will have a pan-European focus, but the UK will be a very important piece in our efforts,” said Sean Klimczak, global head of infrastructure at Blackstone.

Blackstone executives have been talking up Britain’s potential for some time, saying it is a top place to buy assets at bargain prices.

Blackstone Infrastructure Partners’ initial $14bn fund is set to rise to as much as $40bn with Saudi Arabia already pledging $20bn.

The fund was initially earmarked for big infrastructure projects in the US as President Trump promised new roads, bridges, railways and airports as he geared up towards the November election. That initiative stalled when he failed to win the backing of Congress.

This infrastructure fund is a small part of the bigger Blackstone operation. Founded in 1985 it has $571bn under management for pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and institutions, and individuals.

FURTHER READING: UK tech sector growth outpaced US and China in 2019

FURTHER READING: Confidence in UK economy reaches three year high

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