Leading independent infrastructure manager Whitehelm Capital has today led the cornerstone majority investment in a senior secured bond issuance by Autovia del Noroeste (Aunor), a mature shadow toll road located in Murcia, Spain, on behalf of Prime Super.
Whitehelm invested €33 million (A$48 million), priced at 4.75% (Euribor plus 450bps), as the cornerstone investor in the €54 million transaction. The bond matures in June 2025 and has a 5.5 year weighted average life.
This transaction brings Whitehelm’s total investments in infrastructure debt to date to A$1.3 billion, with an internal rate of return (IRR) above 10%.
Aunor operates under a 27-year concession granted by the Region of Murcia in May 1999, receiving shadow toll payments from the Grantor. The motorway benefits from robust patronage, with traffic currently 158% above the maximum guaranteed average daily traffic. Aunor holds a preliminary BB+ (Stable) rating from Standard & Poor’s.
Alexander Waller, Head of Infrastructure Debt, Whitehelm Capital, said: “We are delighted to have closed another high-yielding infrastructure debt investment, following our financings of TDF and Alpha Trains. This is a prudently-structured, senior-ranking transaction for a mature asset with no refinancing risk, delivering an excellent risk-adjusted spread for our client.”
“We continue to observe better relative value for infrastructure debt compared to equity in large, competitively-bid assets and the pipeline looks excellent for the rest of the year. There’s a lot of investor interest in this part of the capital structure given the attractive spread and defensive characteristics: Whitehelm has generated double digit returns over the course of sixteen years without a default on our book.”