Ardian to exit French car park operator

Mirova and MEAG are in talks with the French fund manager to acquire a 49.2% stake in Indigo, which this week agreed a deal with Sunsea Parking in China.

Ardian is looking to sell its 49.2 percent stake in car park operator Indigo, after being approached by fellow French fund manager Mirova and MEAG, the asset manager of Munich Re and ERGO. The sale would result in the Paris-based fund manager exiting an investment it initially made in 2014, when it acquired a 37.5 percent stake in Indigo. It increased its stake two years later to 49.2 percent.

Ardian said that since it became involved in Indigo, the car park operator had increased its turnover by around 50 percent. The fund manager added that Indigo now operates more than 5,050 car parks in over 750 cities worldwide.

The most recent milestone was a strategic partnership announced this week with Chinese car park operator Sunsea Parking.

For Natixis Asset Management affiliate Mirova is looking to acquire a 35 percent stake in the company. Indigo would be the first car park operator to be financed through the Core Infrastructure Fund II, a vehicle Mirova closed on €1.27 billion last July.

Asked how Indigo would fit within Mirova’s strategy of sustainable investing, a spokeswoman for the fund manager cited the car park operator’s “innovative solutions”. These include OPnGO, a digital platform that provides access to on-street parking in public and private car parks, and Indigo Weel, which offers a range of self-service vehicles including scooters, cars and bicycles.

The spokeswoman added: “Indigo’s return and risk profile perfectly matches with the core strategy of Core Infrastructure Fund II as a mature concession-based portfolio, mainly established in France and Europe with interesting growth potential on international markets and digitisation.”

The transaction has been approved pending consultation with employee representative bodies followed by regulatory approval. If it is completed successfully it will be the ninth asset in the Core Infrastructure Fund II portfolio.

The spokeswoman said that around 60 percent of the fund has been deployed. It has already invested in fibreoptic networks in France, district heating in Norway, a toll road in Spain, and social infrastructure PPPs in Spain and Italy.

MEAG would acquire the remaining portion of Ardian’s stake. Crédit Agricole Assurances, which invested in Indigo alongside Ardian in 2014 and 2016, will retain its 49.2 percent ownership interest. Ardian said that Indigo’s management and employees would continue to hold the remaining shares.