Bouygues is in talks with infrastructure funds to help finance its bid to become a major owner of airport concessions worldwide, amidst an uptick in sector opportunities, sources said.
The French developer is in preliminary discussions with between two and 10 infrastructure funds to help fund its plans. One of the investors it is holding talks with is Mirova, the French infrastructure fund manager, sources said. Bouygues and Mirova declined to comment.
Paris-headquartered Bouygues may raise third party capital for its planned future investments by selling shares in a joint venture vehicle to an investor.
Bouygues, which owns its existing European airport concessions via Bouygues Bâtiment International, would take a majority stake in the joint venture vehicle.
Bouygues sees “lots of opportunities” in airport concessions around the world and would have “more capital” from a JV to target mid-sized airport concessions, said a source.
A third-party investor would also be able to hold shares in some of Bouygues’ existing airport concessions.
The JV could also own some or all of Bouygues’ current airport portfolio, said a source, adding that the new JV would target investments worldwide in mid-sized airport concessions which have a construction element.
Bouygues’ portfolio of airport concessions includes stakes in Cyprus’ Larnaca International Airport, Madagascar’s Ivato and Fascene Airports PPP, Canada’s Iqaluit Airport and Zagreb Airport, according to the company’s website.
The decision by Bouygues and its partner to form a JV is scheduled to take place by the end of the year, a source said.
As part of this process, Bouygues is in the early stages of a separate deal with Mirova, which would involve the French fund manager acquiring half of the former’s 20.77% stake in Zagreb Airport, according to European Commission documents.
According to a document published on 14 March, “the proposed transaction involves the acquisition of joint control of Bouygues Construction Airport Concessions Europe by Mirova, acting as a company Core Infrastructure Fund II SCS Investment Fund, alongside the company Bouygues Bâtiment International through a sale of shares”.
The European Commission ruled that it had no opposition to the proposed acquisition in a document dated last Friday [29 March].
But the deal is subject to the establishment of the joint venture between Mirova and Bouygues, a source said.
Bouygues is preparing to bid for the EUR 220m Montenegro’s Podgorica and Tivat airports concession, as reported.
Mirova, which does not own any airport concessions, was shortlisted in a team with Ardian Infrastructure on the Toulouse Blagnac Airport sale, as reported.
In January, Mirova and Bouygues concluded a deal in the broadband sector when Mirova bought a 49% stake in French telecoms infrastructure group Axione from Bouygues Construction’s subsidiary Bouygues Energies & Services. Bouygues retained its 51% stake in Axione.