Exclusive: Macquarie eyes Antin’s stake in Pisto

The European firm is said to be working on appointing sell-side advisers as it gears up to divest its interest in the oil storage group.

Funds managed by Australia’s Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets are looking to increase their stake in Pisto by exerting their right of first offer for Antin Infrastructure Partners’ holding in the French oil storage group.

Sources briefed on the matter told Infrastructure Investor that the firm has appointed buy-side advisors with a view to bidding for the European fund manager’s 36 percent interest in the company. Antin initially acquired its stake in Pisto from Macquarie in 2010, with the Sydney-based firm retaining the remainder.

The transaction would allow Antin to exit another asset held by its first fund, which reached its final close in 2010 on €1.1 billion. The firm is in the process of appointing sell-side advisers, the people said, with a sale likely to be launched in the coming months.

Incorporated in 2003 and based in Paris, Pisto owns an oil pipeline network connecting Le Havre, Paris, Orléans and Tours. It also handles and transports refined oil products.

The company generated an EBITDA of about €95 million last year, sources said, accounting for Pisto’s 32 percent stake in French pipeline operator TRAPIL. With typical oil storage businesses currently priced at about 12-13x EBITDA, industry insiders noted, quick calculations suggest a sale could value Pisto at more than €1.2 billion.

Sources pointed out that Ardian and EDF Invest acquired Géosel, an oil storage business based in Southern France, for about 12.5x EBITDA in September. It is also understood Ardian bought an additional 5 percent stake in CLH, Spain’s largest oil storage network, for a similar multiple last year.

Dutch-based Koole Terminals was, meanwhile, sold by Sweden’s EQT for between 16x and 18x earnings, sources said, though one of the people suggested the asset traded at a premium.

Macquarie and Antin declined to comment. Ardian, EDF Invest and EQT couldn’t be reached before press time.