abrdn Core Infrastructure and Rock Rail have delivered their first European investment together following financial close of the financing of new electric trains for the Main-Weser Network in Germany.
The deal is the fifth that abrdn and Rock Rail have closed together with this latest transaction being equity funded by abrdn’s second Core Infrastructure Fund, SL Capital Infrastructure II SCSp, a €669 million vehicle. The Core Infrastructure team at abrdn manages a diversified portfolio across Finnish district heating and regional energy, German and Belgian liquid bulk storage, UK fibre, Polish solar and UK and German rolling stock. MEAG is acting as exclusive arranger of the entire senior debt financing, allowing investors of Munich Re Group and other institutional investors to participate in this transaction.
The new electric fleet will comprise of 17 multiple train units based on the Coradia Stream train platform delivered by Alstom in their Salzgitter factory in Germany and will support thousands of jobs across the global supply chain.
Consisting of 13 four-car and 4 five-car units, the fleet will enter service from December 2024 and will be initially leased to DB Regio for a period of 14 years, with a 1-year extension option. On behalf of Rhein-Main Verkehrsverbund GmbH (RMV), DB Regio will run the new trains on Germany’s Main-Weser Network, operating between Frankfurt, Giessen, Marburg and Kassel. The four-car version consists of two double-deck control cars and two single-deck middle cars, for a total of 420 seats. The five-car version has another double-deck middle car and a total of 540 seats.
The fleet will provide a step-change increase in seat capacity by 15% and a significant improvement in the passenger experience, helping to encourage greater use of rail over other, less environmentally-friendly modes of transport.
The fleet is fully compliant with the extensive set of requirements of passenger with reduced mobility as defined in the latest Technical Specifications for Interoperability - Persons with Reduced Mobility (“PRM”), which includes gap bridging, uniform boarding height, handles, acoustic and visual passenger information systems, and PRM-compliant lavatories, significantly facilitating the access of passengers with reduced mobility to public transportation.
Compared to existing rolling stock, the new fleet will have improved acceleration and braking specifications. The fleet boasts more efficient energy consumption statistics which is a critical focus of abrdn Core Infrastructure and Rock Rail’s strategic objectives as long-term responsible investors.
Nick Flynn, Investment Director, abrdn, said: “This represents the fifth major investment in rolling stock for the Core Infrastructure team and first rolling stock transaction outside of the UK, further solidifiying abrdn’s position as a major owner and funder of rolling stock.
We are committed to delivering safe and reliable essential infrastructure to local communities and we appreciate all the parties’ involvements and efforts. We look forward to building the next chapter of the Main-Weser network along with our partners. This is an exciting transaction, being our first European rail investment and it also underpins a key strategic priority for abrdn to grow our core capabilities in real assets.”
Mark Swindell, Chief Executive Officer at Rock Rail, added: “Winning and closing Main-Weser is a very significant milestone for Rock Rail, it represents over 3 years of development work from Rock Rail and abrdn culminating in opening up the German market to institutional led finance. Competitive institutional finance can be delivered to meet the need to finance new fleets to the German market and provide added value to municipal clients and Operators like Deutsche Bahn.”
Benjamin Hemming, Head of Infrastructure Debt, MEAG, added: "Arranging the senior debt financing for the Main-Weser network underpins our ambition to substantially contribute to the modernisation of sustainable public transport in Germany including project finance schemes. The technically advanced features of the new fleet will allow state-of-the-art passenger experience, increased capacity and an improved environmental footprint. With this innovative private placement we are enabling our institutional clients to participate in a long-term financing at attractive commercial terms."
abrdn and Rock Rail have invested in several rolling stock infrastructure projects over six years starting with the financing of Rock Rail Moorgate (2016), followed by Rock Rail East Anglia (2016), Rock Rail South Western (2017) and Rock Rail West Coast (2019), developing successful partnerships with public and private stakeholders to drive innovation and solutions in the transport sector across Europe.
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Notes to editors
At abrdn, we enable our clients to plan, save and invest for their futures.
We structure our business into three areas – and together they reflect our focus on enabling our clients to be better investors:
Across our investments, adviser and personal businesses we manage and administer £542 billion of assets for our clients, and abrdn plc has over 1 million shareholders. (Figures as at 31 December 2021)
Our investments are built on an insight strength that comes from multi-layered research and a large global footprint. Our teams collaborate across multiple capabilities, to create forward-thinking solutions that aim to meet our clients’ needs and deliver more sustainable outcomes. Our investments business manages £464 billion on behalf of individuals, governments, pension funds, insurers, companies, charities and foundations (as at 31 December 2021) – with support and expertise from 800 investment specialists in over 30 locations.
abrdn is the single global brand for all areas of our business. In July 2021 our plc listing became abrdn plc. In September our investments business, formerly Aberdeen Standard Investments, became abrdn.
About Rock Rail
Rock Rail is an independent Rolling Stock business which develops opportunities for institutional partners to invest directly into new Rolling Stock fleets. We work with operators to manage the whole life of rolling stock; from design through to acceptance and into long-term operation and re-lease. Rock Rail specialise in risk transfer from the public to private sector, for example transferring residual value risk, new technology risk and delivery risk from municipal clients to the private financiers.
As an asset manager it provides a complete range of specialist rail services, managing residual value and protecting the long-term interests of its institutional investors.
Since 2016 Rock Rail has secured financing for c. £3 billion of new rolling stock fleets from Siemens, Stadler, Bombardier and Hitachi for operation on 5 UK rail franchises, (Great Northern routes, Greater Anglia, South Western Railway, East Midlands Railway and West Coast Partnership). For more information, please visit:www.rockinfrastructure.com
MEAG is the asset manager of Munich Re and ERGO. MEAG also offers its extensive know-how to institutional investors and private clients. MEAG currently manages assets to the value of around € 330bn, € 60bn of which for institutional investors and private clients from outside the company group.
About DB Regio
With around 1.5 billion travellers in 2021, DB Regio is the largest provider of local rail passenger transport. An average of 4.2 million people used some 22,000 train services every day. The five metropolitan S-Bahn operators in Munich, Berlin, Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Hamburg bring around 1.3 billion people to their destinations every year. More than 37,000 employees work for the passengers every day. DB Regio sees local transport as covering all modes of transport and complements its core range of rail and bus services with new forms of mobility such as on-demand, sharing and pooling offers both in metropolitan regions and in rural areas. The aim is to provide climate-friendly, modern and seamless public transport services for everyone in Germany.
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