EISER completes refinancing of UK gas transport firm

The London-based European infrastructure investor has successfully refinanced £161m of debt facilities on behalf of portfolio company ESP, the third-largest independent gas transportation business in the UK.

EISER Infrastructure Partners (EISER), a London-based fund manager with a focus on Europe, has successfully refinanced around £161 million (€184 million; $255 million) of debt facilities for its 100 percent-owned portfolio company, ESP, which it bought in 2006. 

The transaction involved the refinancing of approximately £133 million of senior debt and £28 million of junior debt, with maturities extended by four years to October 2015. The refinancing included a capital expenditure (capex) facility made available by the company’s banks together with a further equity investment of an undisclosed size from EISER.

According to a statement from EISER, the refinancing also saw “the successful restructuring of the swaps package arranged at acquisition time a few years ago”.

Wael Elkhouly, head of asset management at EISER, said the refinancing had taken place “in spite of the very turbulent markets and constrained lending environment” and meant that the business is “well positioned for further growth over the next few years”.

ESP is the third-largest independent gas transportation business in the UK. It owns and maintains the ‘last mile’ of gas pipelines connecting mainly to domestic properties, but also to industrial and commercial developments. The owner of 250,000 gas connections across the UK, ESP has in recent years expanded into the electricity sector, where it now owns more than 4,000 connections.

EISER’s debut fund, which launched in 2005 with €1.1 billion of commitments, is fully invested in 11 companies. The firm, a spinout from BNP Paribas in January 2010, is currently raising a second fund which posted a first closing on €277 million in March this year.