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22 April, 2022

Australia’s Plenary to enter UK market

Infrastructure investor Plenary Group cites macroeconomic factors for its decision to enter the UK market for the first time.

By Viola Caon

Australian infrastructure investor and developer Plenary Group is preparing to open its first office in the UK, a spokesperson has confirmed to Investment Monitor.

The office opening marks the investor’s entrance in Europe. Plenary Group was founded in Melbourne in 2004 and established a presence in North America the year after.

Since then, Asia-Pacific, the US and Canada have been the only jurisdictions the company has invested in. In March 2020, the group announced the sale of its North American operating assets and a stake in the company – Plenary Americas – to Canada’s institutional investor CDPWQ.

The capital coming from the sale was supposed to be invested in opening a London office, but the outbreak of Covid-19 slowed the process down. The London-based team will focus on greenfield infrastructure investment, particularly in the transport and social infrastructure sectors.

European representatives Felix Cassel and Joshua Smith have been working since mid-2021 to establish the business ahead of the office opening.

Speaking to specialist publication Infrastructure Investor, Plenary’s chief information officer Paul Crowe said that macroeconomic factors are behind the decision, including a need for infrastructure development to be part of European governments’ spending in a post-Covid environment, and the high level of underinvestment in the sector brought about by austerity measures following the global financial crisis.

Once the office is up and running, Plenary plans to build a team of between six and ten people. Initially, investment will be made in projects based in the UK and Ireland. In due course, the group plans to invest in eastern Europe and Scandinavia.

“We are excited to be establishing our European business, bringing our independent long-term investment approach and partnering with governments to deliver quality public infrastructure in Ireland, the UK and Europe,” a spokesperson told Investment Monitor.

The group has 74 assets under management with a total value of $46bn across Australia, Canada and the US.

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