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B&B's US port interests transfer to SteelRiver

May 20 - In the face of the ongoing financial problems facing by Babcock & Brown Infrastructure, executives at Babcock & Brown Infrastructure Fund North America (BBIFNA), working with John Hancock Life Insurance, have acquired the fund's USD1.8 billion as

The new fund will be known as SteelRiver Infrastructure Partners LP and will control the fund's existing investments in infrastructure activities. According to a company statement, SteelRiver will invest in core infrastructure assets for the long term, seeking investments in businesses "that provide essential services necessary for human existence" with stable cash flows and monopolistic, often regulated, characteristics; its investors seek total returns characterized by strong current yields with low levels of financial leverage and low to moderate risk.

Among a range of infrastructure operations, SteelRiver will now own ICS Logistics, a leading operator of break bulk sea ports in Florida, Louisiana and Alabama. At the start of this year, ICS Logistics acquired fellow terminal operator Coastal Maritime, which today operates over 44.5 hectares of marine terminal property on the Port of Jacksonville's Blount Island marine terminal.

The MBO comes just two months after HLPFI reported that Babcock & Brown Infrastructure (BBI), the ports and terminals owner which has around 20 bulk, breakbulk and project cargo terminals in various ports across Europe, had sought to reassure its users that it was operating normally despite the appointment of administrators by its parent, the investment bank Babcock & Brown.

The company, which had appointed Royal Bank of Scotland to sell all or part of the UK's third-largest ports operator, PD Ports, indicated that the process would not have any direct effect on its asset sales process, businesses or its operations. A company spokesman indicated that BBI's businesses continue to operate as usual, and its essential services infrastructure assets are performing well.

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