3i operational project fund makes largest ever deal

25 October 2019 - 12:00 am UTC

3i Group will acquire a controlling stake in a Spanish toll road in what will be the largest investment to-date through its European Operational Projects Fund (EOPF).

3i Group declined to comment.

The project’s shareholders are Acciona, TIIC, and Spanish firms Exbasa Obras y Servicios, Transitia Concesiones and Viuda de Sainz.

It is not known which shareholders sold the stake to 3i Group. Acciona, which owns a 22.8% stake in the project, and TIIC, which owns 20%, declined to comment. Exbasa, which owns 22.8%, Transitia (11.7%), and Viuda de Sainz (22.8%) did not respond to requests for comment.

The project reached financial close in 2013 with a EUR 245m debt package provided by seven commercial lenders, comprising Banco Popular, Banco Sabadell, Bankia, BBVA, Caixabank, Kutxabank and Societe Generale.

EOPF reached final close in April 2018 with EUR 456m of commitments received from European and Asian investors. 3i has already deployed funds from EOPF to invest in operational PPPs in Ireland and Italy. 

The deal takes place amidst a flurry of activity in the Spanish road secondary market. Investors are increasingly targeting acquisitions in the sector resulting in prices reaching as high as 12x EBITDA.

Last month, DIF sold its shares in a portfolio of five Spanish concessions to a Brookfield Asset Management-managed fund. 

ACS Group is in the process of selling six Spanish toll roads and has shortlisted Arjun Infrastructure Partners, Globalvia and PSP’s Roadis. 

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