An interview with Meridiam

 

With over EUR 50bn in deployed capital, and roughly EUR 6.4bn worth of assets under management, Meridiam is a long-term global investor and asset manager. 

"We aim to target a wealth of infrastructure assets that comply with our standards, but also reflect our willingness to contribute to the UN sustainable development goals."

In 2019, Meridiam was selected as the sponsor for Poland’s Olsztyn waste to energy (WtE) plant, the preferred bidder in Bulgaria’s Sofia Airport tender and participated in an impressive number of transactions globally.

“The WtE sector is developing all over CEE countries and offering great perspective. Our interest for this sector is increasing, and it is evident that this type of infrastructure will bring and attract significant levels of investment in the near future,” says Delgado-Romero.  

The targets set by the European Union, of processing 50% of member states waste by 2020, have been key drivers of investment in the waste management sector. 

Rethinking strategy 

“Our transition fund has target assets that contribute to the lower emission economy, and WtE is clearly part of it and is an asset class we are targeting, as we aim to expand our portfolio of investments”

“We aim to target a wealth of infrastructure assets that comply with our standards, but also reflect our willingness to contribute to the UN sustainable development goals,” says Delgado-Romero.  
Nonetheless, increasing competition in a wide range of infrastructure sectors – complemented by market liquidity – is making it more difficult for investors to thrive in this climate. 

“Meridiam has addressed this phenomenon for some time and one of the initiatives we implemented was to develop and expand our business in new geographical areas. This has proven to be a very good approach and is allowing us to continue expanding our investment capacity,” says Delgado-Romero.  

The scarcity of bankable projects is one of the factors affecting levels of competition on the market. In order to best capitalise on existing opportunities, investors have to rethink their strategies.

“Our investment in Allego is a good example, which shows how Meridiam is identifying ways to enter new markets.”

Allego is one of the global leaders in the EV charging infrastructure sector, with over 14,000 stations already deployed across Europe. 

As Delgado-Romero explains, direct growth is not the only factor calling for new infrastructure, but also compliance with ESG standards. According to him, increasing environmental standards, reducing congestion, pollution or noise and improving quality of lives are current hot topics.

Outlook

Interest in Europe and the CEE will continue to be high, despite current macroeconomic and political concerns. According to Delgado-Romero, authorities in some CEE countries understand the situation and have been providing support in sectors such as rural fibre deployment, road PPPs and airports. 

“My outlook is positive, and I think we need to be both optimistic and realistic in terms of the future. The public sector is undergoing a period of transition towards fully accepting the involvement of private partners in the operation of public infrastructure.

“This is happening, but it is yet to be completed,” he concludes.

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