Ardian eyes sale of Encevo

First-round bids for the Luxembourg-based utility are expected towards the end of next month.

Ardian is planning the sale of its 25.5 percent stake in Luxembourgian utility Encevo, Infrastructure Investor understands.

The French investment firm has hired Natixis to advise on the sale and is believed to be expecting first-round bids for the company towards the end of next month, although it is thought to have already received unsolicited expressions of interest.

Ardian has been a shareholder in the group since its €330 million investment in May 2012 in what was then known as Enovos, buying a 23.5 percent stake. This was boosted in 2016 with the acquisition of a further 2 percent from E.ON and RWE.

Ardian’s investment came through its €1.75 billion third infrastructure fund, a vehicle which also includes Enel Rete Gas and Luton Airport, the latter of which is also thought to be up for sale.

Ardian declined to comment on the sales process.

Encevo has grown its annual average EBITDA by 10 percent during Ardian’s ownership, reaching about €260 million in 2016, the latest available figure. Encevo has invested €1 billion in boosting the company’s assets since 2012.

The decision to begin the sales process comes amid an increased drive for renewables capacity by the Luxembourgian government, which revealed plans last year to increase the country’s renewable energy share to 70 percent of the mix by 2050, up from the approximate 6 percent recorded today. The country has about 300MW of renewable power installed, according to statistics recently released by the International Renewable Energy Association.

Encevo owns about 366MW of capacity, some of which is based in neighbouring countries, and operates more than 10,150km of electrical power lines and more than 3,700km of gas lines.