Investment Plan for Europe - EIB invests EUR 40m in Quaero European Infrastructure Fund
Ambroise Fayolle, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), and Sébastien Bourget, Managing Partner of Quaero Capital, announced in Strasbourg the EIB's EUR 40m equity participation in Quaero European Infrastructure Fund. This investment is covered by the guarantee of the EU budget under the Investment Plan for Europe, more commonly known as the Juncker Plan.
The participation of the EIB – a European benchmark financier – will be vital to enable Quaero European Infrastructure Fund to reach a scale of EUR 250m, thereby helping to attract other investors. Quaero European Infrastructure Fund provides equity financing for projects in the fields of social infrastructure, transport, telecoms, energy and public or private amenities. The Fund invests in Europe, where its core target is the infrastructure project financing market, translating into small to medium-scale operations.
Quaero European Infrastructure Fund is firmly rooted in France. One of the large-scale projects supported by Quaero European Infrastructure Fund is the deployment of superfast broadband promoted by the Grand Est Region, which is designed to connect more than 370 000 homes, public amenities and firms to the fibre optic network across Alsace by 2022. The Grand Est Region has been the driving force in launching and implementing this operation – the largest publicly-backed superfast broadband network created in France to date. The Fund owns 27% of ‘Rosace’, the SPV for this project, in conjunction with NGE Concessions, Altitude Infrastructure, the Marguerite Fund and Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations. The EIB’s participation in this project, which is covered by the EU guarantee, falls directly in line with the Juncker Plan's aim to secure financing for strategic sectors. The EIB is thus helping to attract private financiers to such new infrastructure projects which require a considerable degree of investment. Showing its deep commitment to this project, the EIB has also pledged a further EUR 62.5m in financing.
European Commission Vice-President with responsibility for employment, growth, investment and competitiveness, Jyrki Katainen, said: “I am delighted that the Investment Plan is supporting the development of digital infrastructure in Alsace. This project constitutes an intelligent use of European funds and will have a major impact on a wide range of key sectors such as telecommunications, energy and social infrastructure. I look forward to seeing the new concrete projects that will be financed thanks to Quaero.”
“The Juncker Plan's first financing operation in Alsace with Quaero European Infrastructure Fund is a strong signal in support of the strategic superfast broadband sector”, remarked Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle. “It is an innovative financing operation that will have a major economic and social impact. It is intended to serve the economic sector and firms that expect to have the high-quality digital services needed to boost regional development and create employment. It also concerns the daily lives of the citizens of these municipalities. The EIB is proud to support this flagship project at the heart of a particularly dynamic region. The Juncker Plan continues to flourish in France, with 42 approved operations from the EIB Group to date totalling EUR 2.9bn in investments.”
“The EIB's participation in our Fund sends a strong signal to the market. It reaffirms our strategy of financing the construction of new infrastructure, which will require substantial investment in Europe over the coming years”, stated Sébastien Bourget, Managing Partner with responsibility for Quaero Capital's infrastructure activity. “The backing of such a prominent institution as the EIB, renowned for being extremely demanding, is a real boost for Quaero European Infrastructure Fund and will have a catalytic effect on other institutional investors in Europe”, added Thierry Callault, Managing Partner responsible for development at Quaero Capital.
During his visit to Strasbourg, EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle joined Sébastien Bourget of Quaero Capital to meet the students of the first fibre optics class, created especially for the Rosace project on the initiative of NGE and Altitude Infrastructure in order to provide vocational training in the field of superfast broadband.
In relation to the EIB's investment in Quaero European Infrastructure Fund, Quaero Capital was advised by the international law firm Jones Day in Paris where Florence Moulin (partner) and Guillaume Cavalin oversaw the project. The EIB was advised by the Gide Loyrette Nouel law firm in Paris.