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Hong Kong infrastructure body adds members

A Hong Kong infrastructure financing body has expanded its membership, which one infrastructure expert said underlines the body's increasing importance for infrastructure investment.06 Nov 2018

The Infrastructure Financing Facilitation Office (IFFO) is run by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority to facilitate infrastructure project finance arrangements for investors, project sponsors, developers and agencies from countries participating in China's 'one belt one road' initiative.

Five new institutions have been announced to join IFFO as partners and they are Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited, CRRC Corporation Limited, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Hong Kong Mortgage Corporation Limited and OMERS, bringing the total number of IFFO to 95.

Project finance expert John Yeap of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said, "It is encouraging to see IFFO continuing to attract high calibre partners as this underlies the importance the investment community places on IFFO’s facilitation role and in particular its ability to bring together suppliers of capital and infrastructure investment opportunities."

"Across the region and further afield, the core challenge in meeting infrastructure needs, be it within the BRI context or otherwise, continues to be the disconnect between capital liquidity and project opportunities. The dialogue and co-operation that IFFO is facilitating can assist greatly in addressing this disconnect." Yeap said.

At its recent Investors and Debt Financing Roundtables over 70 industry representatives discussed collaboration and co-investment in emerging markets, and recent innovations to enhance bankability of infrastructure projects. They also discussed IFFO’s Reference Term Sheet for Non-Recourse Infrastructure Loans in Emerging Markets.

HKMA Chief Executive Norman Chan said, "The discussions on co-investment experiences and on measures that would make infrastructure projects more bankable or investible were very timely. IFFO will continue to serve as a facilitator and catalyst for more effective capital flows into infrastructure projects in emerging market economies."