Ardian and F2i make €727m play for Italian gas network

The deal is part of a wider €1bn disposal by Gas Natural Fenosa, which has exited the market due to Italy’s legal overhaul.

An Italian gas company owned by Ardian and local infrastructure fund F2i has bought a 7,300km network from Gas Natural Fenosa in a deal worth an enterprise value of €727 million.

2i Rete Gas’s acquisition of Nedgia also includes 223 concessions along with close to 460,000 customers and is the third major gas distribution acquisition by the company since F2i and Ardian’s investment in 2009.

The move will consolidate 2i Rete Gas’s network, which already covers 58,000km and holds 2,000 concessions. The deal represents an 11.4 multiple on Nedgia’s 2016 EBITDA of €64 million. 2i Rete Gas recorded an EBITDA last year of €391 million and €194 million for the first half of this year.

In a separate transaction, Gas Natural also sold Gas Natural Vendita Italia, its gas and electricity marketing company, to the EDF-owned Edison for €293 million, netting the 20 percent GIP-owned Spanish firm more than €1 billion from the two deals. It stated the new legal framework set to enter the Italian gas market, which will aim to consolidate the fragmented industry and push down prices, as its reason for selling all its assets in Italy.

The deal comes two months after Gas Natural sold 20 percent of its Spanish distribution business to the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Allianz Capital Partners for €1.5 billion, a 15.7 multiple on its 2016 EBITDA.