Ardian is understood to have launched a process aimed at selling its 49.99% stake in Túnels de Barcelona i Cadí, the company operating two tunnels in Catalonia under the same concession contract.
The French investor has mandated AZ and Mediobanca as financial advisers to sell the stake in the company, which it acquired from Brazilian investment bank BTG Pactual almost four years ago.
The 2014 acquisition, for an undisclosed amount, was via its Ardian Infrastructure Fund III (AIF III).
Abertis owns 50.01% of the concessionaire, and as a result already consolidates the company in its accounts. It has a pre-emption right but is understood to have not yet decided whether to exercise it, and as a result Ardian is seeking to sound other potential buyers including financial investors as part of the sale process. Both companies declined to comment.
The assets part of the concession are the 5km Cadí tolled tunnel on the C-16 Barcelona-Andorra-France highway, and the 2.5km Vallvidrera tunnel between central Barcelona and suburbs to the north-west of the city. The concession, which ends in 2037, also includes several kilometres of access roads.
According to Abertis’ 2017 results, the concessionaire recorded a gross profit of EUR 45.7m last year, and a profit attributable to its owners of EUR 13.5m. It paid a final dividend to shareholders of 6m.
The launch of the sale process follows a refinancing of Túnels de Barcelona i Cadí debt earlier this year. The new EUR 335m debt package came from an all-Spanish banking club of CaixaBank, Santander, Banco de Sabadell and BBVA, and refinanced existing debt provided by the same lenders in 2015. It included a EUR 305m 16-year term loan as well as ancillary facilities.
The Regional government of Catalonia (Generalitat) privatised the assets in 2012 through TABASA.
Abertis initially owned a 35% stake, with Brazilian bank BTG Pactual owning a 65% stake. Ardian acquired BTG Pactual’s 65% stake in November 2014. Abertis then acquired a further 15.01% stake in the asset from Ardian in July 2015, taking it to its current share of 50.01%.