EQT Infra enters Finland, Estonia with €200m deal

The infrastructure fund’s first deal in the northern European countries sees it acquire Fortum’s outsourced energy solutions and small-scale heating businesses. With about 85% of its fund invested, EQT is expected to tap the market in 2012 to raise a new infrastructure vehicle.

EQT Infrastructure, the infrastructure arm of Swedish private equity firm EQT, has clinched its first deal in Finland and Estonia with the acquisition of Finnish energy group Fortum’s outsourced energy solutions and small-scale district heating businesses.

The deal sees EQT Infrastructure acquire two companies that were part of Fortum’s heat division for an enterprise value of €200 million, although the two firms will be managed as a single entity going forward. The acquired companies build, own and operate plants producing process steam, heat and cooling for a number of clients, in addition to operating heating district networks. They generated combined revenues of €151 million last year.

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EQT Infrastructure, which raised €1.2 billion in 2008, has had a busy year. In August, the fund bought a 70 percent stake in Peregrine Midstream Partners, a US-based natural gas storage company, for an undisclosed amount. A week before that deal was clinched, EQT acquired a high-pressure gas grid in Sweden from utility E.ON, making it the sole owner of Sweden’s entire high-pressure natural gas transmission network.

This small sample of EQT’s 2011 infrastructure activities helps explain how, after the Fortum deal, the fund finds itself about 85 percent invested. It also boosts rumours that suggest EQT is preparing to tap the market in 2012 to raise a new infrastructure fund. EQT was not available for comment at press time.

If it does launch a follow-up fund, EQT is set to join a number of marquee names that will return to the market next year to raise new funds. As exclusively revealed in November, Dutch infrastructure fund manager DIF has started tapping the market for its third infrastructure fund, which will aim to raise €600 million. But French fund managers Cube Infrastructure and Antin Infrastructure Partners are also expected to launch new vehicles, alongside a new fund from M&G Investments.