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EQT agrees cooking oil business sale

The Swedish private equity firm is selling RTI, one of the less orthodox assets in its infrastructure portfolio, to a US private investment firm.

EQT Infrastructure has agreed to sell RTI, a Minneapolis-based cooking oil management services business, to Los Angeles-based private investment firm Aurora Capital Group for an undisclosed sum.

The infrastructure arm of the Swedish private equity arm acquired RTI from its debut €1.2 billion 2008-vintage infrastructure fund in May 2011. The firm provides cooking oil management and distribution services to the US food service industry, distributing and collecting cooking oil to and from more than 22,000 customers through 41 depots across the US.

While the business may be considered outside the realm of traditional infrastructure, EQT partner Glen Matsumoto said at the time of the acquisition: “In some ways you can look at this as an oil storage company even though it is cooking oil. Clearly it’s not a bridge, it’s not an airport. But we feel that there is clearly a strong tie-in with the local community and a strong barrier to entry in terms of other competitors.”

A press release announcing the latest sale claimed RTI had “secured its number one position” in the market through “an unmatched national infrastructure”. It said that during EQT’s ownership, five new depots had been added, customer growth had more than doubled, the overall customer base had increased 30 percent, and EBITDA had gone up by more than 65 percent. The employee base has also increased by half.

EQT was advised on the sale by RBC Capital Markets and Weil Gotshal and Manges.

EQT’s infrastructure fund invests in medium-sized businesses in the Nordic region, parts of continental Europe and North America. Its remit covers infrastructure, concession-based infrastructure, market-based infrastructure and infrastructure-related services.

The firm closed its second infrastructure fund in January 2013 on €1.9 billion, beating a €1.5 billion target.