Cintra sells parking business for €400m

The deal will result in an after-tax capital gain of €97m and streamline the Spanish firm, which will now have toll road development and operation as its sole business line.

Spanish toll road developer Cintra has agreed to sell its entire 99.92 percent equity stake in its car parking subsidiary Cintra Aparcarmientos (CA) to a group of investors for approximately €400 million.

Including €51 million of bank debt owned by CA, the total size of the deal is €451 million.  Cintra will book a capital gain of €97 million from the deal, according to a statement.

In addition to the cash infusion, though, the deal will also streamline the firm’s operations into a single business line. Aside from car parking – a business which Cintra discontinued from its earnings reporting last year due to the sale process – the firm develops and operates toll roads. That activity will now be its sole business line, making it more comparable with pure-play toll road developers and operators like Australia’s Transurban Group.

Car parking has proven to be a less infrastructure-like business line during the recession than some had hoped. Travel-linked parking businesses such as airport parking garages have seen revenues plummet, prompting some investors, like the Macquarie Infrastructure Company, to indicate they may seek bankruptcy protection for their car parking assets.

The CA buyers’ consortium includes an infrastructure fund managed by Luxembourg-based Espirito Santo Financial Group – the Espirito Santo Infrastructure Fund I Fundo de Capital de Risco. The other buyers include Ahorro Corporación Infraestructuras, Ahorro Corporación Infraestructuras 2, the Transport Infrastructure Investment Company, Banco Espirito Santo de Investimento, Es Concessoes, and Assip.

CA managed approximately 300,000 parking spaces in Spain, the UK and Andorra as of the end of last year. The division had annual revenues of €166.6 million and posted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of €47.2 million in 2008.

The sale is conditional on approval from Spanish competition authorities, Cintra said. Banks BBVA and Calyon acted as Cintra’s financial advisors on the deal.