Digital infrastructure trust seeks to improve energy efficiency

Focus on efficient energy use, particularly with the data centres, and greater connectivity

Cordiant Digital Infrastructure Limited is targeting £300m in the proposed flotation of the investment trust offering exposure to ‘the plumbing of the internet’, while also aiming to improve energy usage.

The trust will be managed by Cordiant Capital, a sector-focused investment manager specialising in global infrastructure and real assets, which was an early signatory to UN Principles of Responsible Investment as well a founding signatory of the World Bank/IFC Operating Principles for Impact Management.

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Cordiant is targeting an issue of 300 million ordinary shares at a price of 100 pence per ordinary share and additional subscription shares to IPO investors.

Listed on the London Stock Exchange, the trust will seek to generate total returns over the longer term, comprising capital growth and a progressive dividend. The objective is a NAV total return of 9% per annum once the trust is full invested.

Steven Marshall, Cordiant’s chairman of digital infrastructure, said the trust will focus on three core asset classes: data centres, fibre optic networks and mobile towers which he described as the ‘plumbing of the internet’, but with a focus on more efficient energy use, particularly with the data centres, and greater connectivity where possible between the fibre optics and the centres.

The company has three potential acquisitions lined up should it successfully raise the £300m, across the UK, Europe and North America, and the aim is to have a spread of assets across geographies.

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Marshall pointed to the example of a large data centre which is located in a very cold part of Scandinavia where the natural environment reduces the need to artificial cooling systems and the trust could also own the fibre optics leading into the building. The trust will focus on medium-sized masts, where there are good assets still needed for the likes of 2G but can be also used for 5G and 6G roll-outs, thereby reducing the need to build newer towers for broadcast or wide scale rollout of a new spectrums.

He said there had recently been a number of large multi-billion deals in the ‘tower’ sector, but the company will be focusing on the mid-market, and aim to build its net asset value steadily over time.

The company will also aim to provide measurable impact investing benefits to shareholders and points out that digital infrastructure is a core part of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and has a central role to play in the transition to a low-carbon economy with sustainable cities.

The trust will be chaired by Shonaid Jemmett-Page, who is also chair of investment company Greencoat Wind.

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Natalie Kenway

Natalie is global head of ESG insight for ESG Clarity and has been an investment journalist for 16 years. She won Editor of the Year at the Aviva Investors Sustainability Media Awards 2021, and was Winner...