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Exclusive: PGGM buys stake in APRR in €812m deal

The Dutch pension is part of a consortium that has acquired a 13.7% stake in the French motorway operator from Macquarie, in a transaction valuing the business at €14.9bn.

Zeist, Netherlands-based PGGM has bought a minority stake in Autoroutes Paris-Rhin-Rhône (APRR), Europe’s fourth-largest motorway group, from Macquarie-managed funds.

A spokesperson for Macquarie confirmed to Infrastructure Investor that the deal is part of concurrent transactions that will see Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund (MEIF 1) divest its indirect 13 percent stake to a consortium of third-party investors – including PGGM – and Macquarie Specialised Asset Management (MSAM) sell a 1.4 percent interest in APRR to the same investors which acquired the MEIF stake (0.7 percent) to Macquarie Atlas Roads (0.7 percent).

APRR is wholly owned by Eiffarie, a joint venture uniting French developer Eiffage (which owns 50 percent plus one share of the company) and MAF2 Group, a consortium formed of Macquarie Atlas Roads (MQA) and other Macquarie funds.

Prior to the transaction, MQA owned 38.87 percent of MAF2, with other funds holding the remainder. MQA now owns 40.29 percent of MAF2 – corresponding to a 0.71 percent indirect interest in APRR – while other Macquarie funds hold 32.55 percent and third-party investors 27.16 percent of MAF2, according to an investor presentation seen by Infrastructure Investor.

The Macquarie spokesperson said that Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund II, the 2006-vintage, €4.64 billion successor to MEIF 1, still holds a 15.6 percent stake in APRR.

Although no financial details were disclosed for the transaction, the investor presentation mentions that the MSAM deal values APRR at €14.9 billion, with third-party investors and MQA both paying €41.5 million for their respective 0.7 percent stakes. Assuming third-party investors bought their additional 13 percent stake from MEIF on the same terms then they would have paid about €812 million for their total holding in the company.

Although PGGM declined to comment, a spokesperson for the Dutch pension told Infrastructure Investor that the institution had paid “several hundred million euros” for its minority stake in APRR.

APRR operates 2,264 kilometres (km) of motorways in France, which include the Paris-Lyon route, the Burgundy-Northern Europe route, Alpine motorways in the Rhône-Alpes region and motorways in central France. The group respectively posted €2.398 billion and €1.475 billion in revenue and EBITDA for 2013, implying a current valuation at around 10.1x EBITDA.