ABN AMRO buys pipelines from Terra Firma

Dutch bank ABN AMRO’s infrastructure fund has bought ESP Gas Pipeline Group ahead of the fund’s second close later this year.

ABN AMRO Infrastructure Capital Equity Fund, part of the Dutch banking group, has bought ESP Pipelines Group for £225 million ($409.5 million; €325.9 million) from Terra Firma, the private equity group headed by Guy Hands.

A source close to the deal said Hands’s group had now cashed out its original equity investment in East Surrey Holdings, ESP’s parent, while retaining Phoenix Natural Gas, a gas supplier in Northern Ireland.

Barclays Capital is underwiriting the debt for ABN’s acquisition. Gleacher Shacklock provided financial advice.

ESP is the third largest licensed independent gas transporter in the UK. It has 171,000 existing gas connections and an order book of a further 35,500 connections.

ABN AMRO Infrastructure Capital Equity Fund was established in 2005 to invest in, own and operate a broad range of infrastructure assets globally. The fund currently has €500 million of capital commitments, from the Dutch pension giants ABP and PGGM, and is planning a second close during 2006 that will take the total capital commitment above €1 billion.
Linklaters provided legal advice on the ESP transaction.