Foresight white paper reveals significant differences in pandemic resilience across infrastructure sub-sectors: renewables and telecoms amongst the most resilient

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  • Foresight’s Infrastructure Pandemic Resilience white paper analyses pandemic resilience across 23 infrastructure sub-sectors
  • While infrastructure as a whole has proved to be pandemic resilient relative to other asset classes, study reveals significant differences in performance across sub-sectors
  • Revenue resilience is the single most important factor in driving overall pandemic resilience; renewables, telecoms and primary care are the sub-sectors most resilient to global pandemics
  • Improved business continuity planning (BCP) is a key area for future action within infrastructure, highlighting the need for active investors to focus portfolio companies on developing more robust systems to better withstand future pandemics

Click here to view the announcement as a PDF.

London, 28 September 2020: A new study published today by Foresight Group LLP (“Foresight”) into the resilience of infrastructure to global pandemics reveals that renewable energy, telecoms and primary care have proved to be the most pandemic resilient.

The analysis, which examines 23 infrastructure sub-sectors spanning economic and social infrastructure, shows that while infrastructure as an asset-class has proved to be highly pandemic resilient, with many sub-sectors largely immune to the impact, there are substantial differences in the performance of various infrastructure sub-sectors.

Foresight’s white paper “Infrastructure Pandemic Resilience: a true test of infrastructure’s defensive characteristics” considers the resilience of infrastructure to global pandemics through five investment fundamentals: revenues; costs; financials; political and regulatory environments; and operations.  The study was based on a proprietary pandemic resilience framework developed by Foresight, a leading independent infrastructure and private equity investment manager.

Nigel Aitchison, Partner and Head of Infrastructure at Foresight, said: “Infrastructure as an asset class has long been sold on its robust defensive and uncorrelated characteristics. The Covid-19 global pandemic has been the biggest test of its resilience yet. Foresight’s research drills down into the infrastructure sector and reveals substantial differences in the performance of 23 sub-sectors.  Diversification across a range of these sub-sectors will be key to limiting the adverse impact of future pandemic threats.”

Key Findings

The infrastructure sub-sectors that evidenced the greatest overall resilience to global pandemics were positively correlated with a high degree of both revenue resilience (0.87) and financial resilience (0.85). Least correlated with overall pandemic resilience was operational resilience (0.60). This was also the investment fundamental that infrastructure sub-sectors most frequently scored lowest on, suggesting that sector-wide, businesses have underestimated pandemic risk and its implications on real assets.  Improved BCP is a key area for future action within infrastructure, highlighting the need for active investors to focus portfolio companies on developing more robust systems to better withstand future pandemics.

The sub-sectors found to have outperformed are the truest reflection of the defensive characteristics of infrastructure, evidencing stability when the lockdown of societies is significantly altering demand patterns, the global economy is in flux and supply chains are being stretched beyond original conceptions.

UK Government support for infrastructure through the pandemic has generally been highly positive, although financial support has not reached all sub-sectors evenly (within transportation, for example, the Government’s response has been notably absent for airports and toll roads when compared with the intervention and effective ‘nationalisation’ of train operating companies).

Given that the occurrence and manifestation of future pandemics will be unpredictable, diversification by investors across a range of infrastructure sub-sectors will be important in helping to mitigate future pandemic risk and limit adverse impacts.




For further information, please contact:

Caroline Merrell / Toby Moore, Citigate Dewe Rogerson: 07852 210329 07768 981 763

Ben Thompson, Foresight Group: | +44 (0)20 3667 8155

Notes for editors

About Foresight Group LLP (“Foresight”):

Foresight is a leading independent infrastructure and private equity investment manager which has been managing investment funds on behalf of institutions and retail clients for more than 36 years.

Foresight has over £6.5 billion of Assets Under Management of which £3.7 billion relates to renewable energy infrastructure. Foresight currently manages more than 250 renewable generation assets globally, with a total generating capacity of 2.5GW.

Foresight manages over 150 solar plants and has more than 1.4GW of solar generation assets under management around the world.

Foresight has more than 800MW of wind generation assets across the UK, France, Spain, Germany and Sweden of which 665MW are operational.

Foresight manages over 40 bioenergy and waste projects processing some 1.5 million tonnes of waste every year, having mobilised more than £1 billion of capital investment into the sector.

In addition, Foresight manages 210MW of Reserve Power assets and three utility scale Battery Storage projects providing 46MW of Enhanced Frequency Response services to National Grid.

Foresight is headquartered in London with regional offices in Manchester, Nottingham, Edinburgh, Cambridge, Milton Keynes, Leicester and Guernsey and international offices in Sydney, Rome, Madrid, Luxembourg and Seoul.