Antin buys network of French psychiatric clinics

The fund manager’s latest social infra deal sees it acquire a majority stake in 10 clinics with close to 1,170 beds and day care places.

Antin Infrastructure Partners has bought a majority stake in INICEA, France’s largest independent chain of psychiatric clinics, from asset manager LFPI Gestion for an undisclosed amount.

The French fund manager’s latest social infrastructure deal will see it acquire 10 clinics with some 1,170 beds and day care places. Founded in 1982, the private operator employs 1,000 people and 50 private psychiatrists under contract. It specialises in day care, care for teenagers and in the treatment of eating disorders, like anorexia and bulimia.

“We believe French psychiatric clinics offer very strong infrastructure characteristics. It is, unfortunately, a growing market – we see a very strong demand for treatment in our clinics – and one where there is not a lot of oversupply,” explained Antin senior partner Angelika Schöchlin, who led the deal. “It is also an industry with very high barriers to entry, because you need authorisation to run a psychiatric hospital.”

“When we look at infrastructure in general, we look for assets that offer basic services to society. Given one-fifth of the French population has been affected by a mental disease, there is a clear need for this very basic and important service,” she added.

Investment director Nicolas Mallet explained the indirect cost of mental illness to the French economy alone is estimated at an annual €100 billion. “If you look at all the statistics from organisations like the World Health Organisation, you will find that mental diseases will become, in the near future, the main cause of long-term illness in Europe and the world. Unfortunately, it is a growing trend everywhere that modern economies will have to face, in terms of capacity,” he said.

The deal, which is still awaiting regulatory clearance from the French authorities, is set to close in May.

INICEA is Antin’s fifth transaction from its second infrastructure fund, with the French manager and its co-investors now having deployed almost €2 billion in less than two years since Fund II’s final close. However, unlike previous social infrastructure deals, such as last July’s acquisition of German medical diagnostics services provider Amedes, INICEA, a smaller deal, is not being done as a co-investment.

The psychiatric care operator joins Amedes, North Sea gas pipeline CATS, motorway services area operator Roadchef, as well as Dutch fibre optic business Eurofiber in Fund II’s portfolio. The latter reached a final close on its €2 billion hard-cap in June 2014.

Antin was advised on the deal by Case Corporate Finance, KPMG, Paul Hastings, Fidal, Parella and Ariane Santé. LFPI Gestion was advised by UBS and Archers.