The Irish Infrastructure Fund (the “Fund”) (which is managed by Irish Life Investment Managers (“ILIM”) together with AMP Capital as the Fund’s infrastructure investment manager) is pleased to announce that, following a sale process managed by Rubicon Infrastructure Advisors, the sole financial advisor to the Joint Official Liquidators of Spencer Dock Development Company Limited, it has been selected as preferred bidder to acquire the concession contract to operate and maintain The Convention Centre Dublin (“The CCD”), a long term lease of the 321-space car park that is located underneath the CCD, and the license to build and operate an approximately 330-bed hotel on a site adjacent to the CCD. The CCD was developed as a public-private partnership with the Irish Government.
It is a State-owned building and is operated under a concession contract that has 21 years remaining. The concession contract allows the licensee to collect a performance-based payment for the proper maintenance and operation of the building along with trading revenue generated from events hosted at The CCD. Both the car park and the potential hotel serve to enhance the attractiveness of The CCD as a conference venue.
The CCD, which has been trading profitably since commencing operations in September 2010, has recently celebrated its 1,000th event and has hosted more than 1 million delegate days.
In the last six months alone, The CCD has secured 120 events, including 25 international conferences, booked for future years from 2015 to 2018.
These 25 conferences range in size from 500 to 2,000 delegates and are forecast to generate more than €30 million for the local economy.
The acquisition is an ideal investment for the Fund, which was launched in 2012 by ILIM, Ireland’s largest domestic pension fund manager. The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund “ISIF” (formerly the National Pensions Reserve Fund) is a key strategic cornerstone investor in the Fund. AMP Capital, one of the world’s longest-established independent infrastructure managers, has extensive experience in responsibly managing businesses of national and regional importance such as The CCD and has direct convention centre experience through its management of an investment in the Darwin Convention and Exhibition Centre in Australia.
The Fund is seeking to raise more than €500 million from Irish and global institutional investors and has already attracted investments from a number of Irish investors including the cornerstone commitment from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund.
The transaction is expected to complete during the coming months subject to receipt of the required consents from the Office of Public Works (on behalf of the State), the senior lenders and others such as the Competition Authority. The executive chairman of The CCD, Mr. Dermod Dwyer, said: “The CCD is a strategic national asset and I’m very pleased the Irish Infrastructure Fund has been selected as the preferred bidder.
“The CCD has been delivering both a profit for the business itself and wider economic benefits and we expect that to continue.” Patrick Burke, Managing Director of Irish Life Investment Managers, said: “The CCD is an exceptional asset and we are excited at the opportunities it presents for our clients, who have been attracted to the Irish Infrastructure Fund for its high yield and its annualised total return of 9.9%* since inception. We are keen to utilise our significant experience and that of AMP Capital to fully maximise the potential of this nationally-important asset.”
AMP Capital Head of Origination, Europe, Simon Ellis said: “The CCD is a highly attractive asset for the Irish Infrastructure Fund, further diversifying the portfolio and combining robust long-term cash yields and growth potential from an increasingly favourable economic outlook during the next few years. We look forward to working in collaboration with the existing management team and the OPW to maximise the potential of this iconic Dublin asset.”
*Gross Annualised Total Return to 31.12.2014