Ardian, EDF to acquire French oil storage

The transaction values Total’s 53.4% stake in the business at €265m.

Paris-headquartered fund manager Ardian and EDF Invest, the asset management arm of French utility EDF, are set to buy a majority interest in Géosel, an oil storage business based in Manosque, Southern France.

French oil major Total has agreed to sell down 50 percent plus one share in the asset to the consortium, through a deal that will see it retain a minority holding in the company. Total currently owns 53.4 percent of Géosel – a stake valued by the transaction, excluding inventory, at €265 million.

The deal is expected to complete by the end of the year. It remains subject to approval by antitrust regulators and other Géosel shareholders, which comprise petrochemical group Basell Polyolefines France (26.7 percent) and refinery operator Petroineos Manufacturing France (19.9 percent).

With a capacity of almost 9 million cubic metres, Géosel operates underground storage caverns and pipelines linked to the seaport of Fos and to the petrochemical facilities of Etand de Berre near Marseilles. The company also derives revenues from long-term contracts with SAGESS, the French strategic oil reserves manager and Géosel’s main client.

Ardian is currently investing the last remaining capital from its Infrastructure Fund III, which reached a final close in 2013 on €1.75 billion (comprising a co-mingled pool of €1.45 billion and €300 million earmarked for co-investments). It is currently raising its Fund IV with a target of €2 billion.

The firm last week announced the opening of a new office in Madrid, which it intends to use as a base to pursue further deals in Iberia and forge stronger links with institutional clients and investment partners in the region.