Ardian, Crédit Agricole land stakes in Italian airports

The infrastructure fund manager and the French lender have teamed up to buy nearly half of F2i Aeroporti, a holding company invested in six hubs across the country.

A consortium formed of France’s Ardian (60 percent) and Crédit Agricole (40 percent) has acquired 49 percent of F2i Aeroporti, a holding company owned by the first vehicle of Italian fund manager Fondo Italiani per le Infrastrutture (F2i).

The group controls stakes in Milan Malpensa and Linate Airports (35.7 percent), Naples Airport (70 percent) and Turin Airport (54.5 percent) as well as indirect holdings in Bergamo and Bologna Airports. Secondo Fondo F2i, F2i’s second fund, also holds an 8.6 percent share in Milan Malpensa and Linate Airports.

No value was disclosed for the transaction. Still subject to antitrust approval, it is expected to close within the next two to three months.

The deal follows on a fruitful collaboration between Ardian and F2i over the last three years, after both firms sealed a number of co-investments in Italy’s energy sector.

In December 2013, Ardian and F2i jointly bought a 14.8 percent stake in Enel Rete Gas, Italy’s second-largest gas distributor, adding to the 85.1 percent stake they already owned in the business. The same month, Ardian acquired €150 million worth of assets in F2i’s first fund, and then committed €30 million to the firm’s second vehicle in January 2014.

The fund managers had previously partnered to buy G6 Rete Gas – the Italian gas network of France’s GDF Suez – and E.On Rete – that of Germany’s E.On – in 2011.

Ardian is already exposed to the airport sector through its investment in the UK’s Luton Airport, while Crédit Agricole, via its Predica subsidiary, owns a 4.81 percent stake in Aéroports de Paris.