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Someone Is Buying Up Power Plants and Critical Infrastructure in 22 Countries. The Trail Leads to JPMorgan – a Bank Repeatedly Charged with Rigging Markets

Courtesy of Pam Martens

JPMorgan Chase BuildingAccording to the Merger and Acquisition database at PitchBook, entities tied to JPMorgan Asset Management have been buying up energy and infrastructure assets around the world including solar power plants, wind farms,  airports, water companies and the 120-year old El Paso Electric which provides electricity to approximately 437,000 retail and wholesale customers in west Texas and southern New Mexico.

The acquisitions can be traced back to an entity called the Infrastructure Investments Fund (IIF). When IIF is seeking regulatory approval, as in the case of buying El Paso Electric, it contends it is not controlled by JPMorgan. But when JPMorgan is pitching the fund to institutional investors around the globe, the bank points out that 50 of the bank’s employees are actively engaged in the fund – along with “70 independent portfolio company directors.”

The brochures (flipbooks) for IIF are marked “Strictly Private/Confidential” but one dated 2019 used to pitch California’s Mendocino County Employees Retirement Association and another from 2020 that was used to pitch a pension fund in the U.K., are available for anyone to read on the Internet.

The 2019 flipbook states that IIF was founded in 2006 and “grew out of the JPMorgan Real Estate Group.” At that time, according to the flipbook, IIF included $6.1 billion in 15 portfolio companies in 15 countries. The 2020 flipbook states that IIF has 17 portfolio companies in 22 countries with a net asset value of $12.4 billion.

The 2019 flipbook also shows that foreign investors owned 73 percent of the fund. Foreign ownership interest became a problem in 2019 when the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) had to approve IIF’s purchase of El Paso Electric, which owned part of the Palo Verde nuclear power plant in Arizona. Under federal law, nuclear power plants are to remain under the control of U.S. entities. The NRC approved the El Paso deal despite the foreign ownership interests.

According to IIF’s flipbook, companies in which IIF held a 100 percent control include Värmevärden, a heating company based in central Sweden; Summit Utilities, which owns natural gas distribution and transmission subsidiaries that operate in Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, Missouri and Oklahoma; SouthWest Water Company, which owns and operates regulated water and wastewater systems serving over half a million residential and business customers in Alabama, California, Florida, Oregon, South Carolina, and Texas. According to PitchBook, a subsidiary of SouthWest Water Company, via JPMorgan Asset Management, last year acquired the South Carolina wastewater utility operations of Ni Pacolet Milliken Utilities (Ni) from Pacolet Milliken, LLC. Ni owns regulated wastewater and water utility companies serving customers in South Carolina and Florida. Ni’s holdings include Palmetto Utilities, Palmetto Wastewater Reclamation, and Ni Florida.


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