GLIL Infrastructure has agreed to acquire a 30% stake in Agility Trains East (ATE), a rolling stock fleet of 65 new intercity trains, from Hitachi Rail Limited. The transaction, signed on November 19, will support the long-term operation of trains on the United Kingdom's East Coast Main Line.
Agility Trains East was established in partnership with the UK Department for Transport to develop the Intercity Express Programme, an initiative to replace the country’s fleet of intercity trains with a more reliable and efficient fleet. The electric and bi-modal Hitachi Class 800/801 Intercity Express trains have been fully delivered, and currently operate out of London, connecting with cities across the North of England and Scotland.
The fleet is supported by a long-term maintenance agreement with Hitachi and is backed by a 27.5-year guarantee period with the UK Department for Transport.
Upon completion, the ATE shareholder group will consist of Hitachi Rail Limited (40%), GLIL Infrastructure (30%) and pension fund-backed investor AIP Management (30%).
“Rail infrastructure is fundamental to the future of the UK as the nation looks to build an ever more integrated, greener economy and society," says Jonathan Ord, investment director at GLIL Infrastructure. "We’ve invested in the impressive ATE fleet to support that goal, but also to provide reliable and sustainable returns for our pension members for many years to come.”
Dan Phillips, chief strategy officer at Hitachi Rail, adds: “As we focus on our role as a full-service provider of rail infrastructure, we are pleased that GLIL sees the long-term investment value of Agility Trains East, and we look forward to welcoming them as a shareholder."
Hitachi Rail will continue to maintain and operate the fleet for the remaining 27.5 years of the contract. The company has UK manufacturing, service and maintenance operations through a network of 13 depots, and a manufacturing facility in Newton Aycliffe.
The deal is the ninth investment by GLIL, a 1.8 billion pound (US$2.4 billion) alternative investment fund backed by Local Pensions Partnership and Northern LGPS. The open-ended fund was established in 2015 to drive further direct investment in core UK infrastructure, while supporting the long-term objectives of local authority pension funds.