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2.3.3 Geo-Economic Exposures

The third TICCS® pillar classifies infrastructure companies into four levels of geo-economic exposure that are relevant to understanding potential correlations between investments. Business-risk families defined in the first TICCS® pillar capture the resemblance between infrastructure firms' business models, including how they may or may not covary as contracted or merchant companies. But an additional dimension is the exposure of each company to the different geographic levels of the economy that they serve.

Academic Insights

Infrastructure companies operate typically large immobile structures. Their physical position is a lifelong constant. However, the type of economic activity they are involved in can correspond to different economic factors, creating a multitude of possible interactions between infrastructure companies.

A first example is that two merchant toll roads can be expected to be less correlated if they are farther away from each other in space. This assumes that traffic variability is mostly determined by local economic conditions. However, if the roads in question are part of a regional transport corridor spanning hundreds or thousands of kilometres, they would probably exhibit a high level of revenue-risk dependency.

Likewise, two contracted infrastructure companies can be expected to be relatively unrelated unless they have a similar or the same counter-party, which could be a local government.

Certain infrastructure companies are part of and exposed to the global economy. These include large transportation hubs such as major airports and ports, which are not only exposed to the business cycle but, as a result of that, tend to be correlated with one other [1][2].

Conversely, it's possible for global and regional or national infrastructure companies to be less correlated with each other even when they are relatively close in space and have similar business models. This is the case in the port sector, which can be divided into several categories of global container-shipping hubs; regional ports, which act partly as distribution networks of global port traffic; and national or subnational ports which cater to the local economy.

Certain infrastructure companies are also exposed to global commodity prices: gas pipelines or coal terminals, even when they have a contracted business model, face a highly correlated counterparty risk because commodity price movements can make their off-take contracts uneconomic or bankrupt their sole client [3].

The TICCS® Geo-Economic Classification 

The Scientific Infra & Private Assets data-collection process includes recording the GIS data of infrastructure assets in order to understand their exact physical positions . To qualify this information, and using the insights above, the third TICCS® pillar uses four classes of geo-economic exposure to classify infrastructure companies:

  • Subnational infrastructure companies

  • National infrastructure companies

  • Regional infrastructure companies

  • Global infrastructure companies

The table below describes the TICCS® geo-economic classification.

Table: TICCS® Geo-Economic Classification

Code and Name



GE1 - Global infrastructure companies

The relevant infrastructure is exposed to global economic factors, e.g., international airports, oil and gas pipelines, some ports, etc.

Major transportation hubs, projects exposed to global commodity prices.

GE2 - Regional infrastructure companies

The relevant infrastructure is exposed to a group of national economies, e.g., energy transmission between two or more countries, airports serving regional routes. A regional regulator or legal framework may also exist such as the European Union.

Medium-size container ports, transborder projects like transmission lines or certain road corridors.

GE3 - National infrastructure companies

The relevant infrastructure is exposed to the national economy, e.g., domestic airports and national electricity transmission assets, and is relevant to the national government or a national regulator.

Large-scale road or telecommunication networks, companies regulated by a national-level entity.

GE4 - Subnational infrastructure companies

The relevant infrastructure serves the local economy, e.g., schools and hospitals, and has subsovereign public clients or counterparts.

Municipal or other subsovereign-entity social infrastructure projects.


File Modified

File geo_economic.csv

Feb 27, 2020
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