First State in shopping spree with Spanish parking deal

The fund manager is buying Parkia from EQT and Mutua Madrileña for a reported €300m less than two years after a merger between the two investors’ respective car park operators.

Sweden’s EQT and Iberian insurer Mutua Madrileña have agreed to sell Parkia, a Spanish car park operator, to First State Investments.

The asset management division of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia is set to buy the company less than two years after EQT and Mutua Madrileña merged their respective operators, forming an entity with annual revenues of €30 million.

Deal value was not disclosed but Infrastructure Investor understands First State will disburse “more than €300 million” to buy the business. The transaction is expected to complete by Q3 of this year.

First State and EQT did not respond to a request for comment on deal value, while Mutua Madrileña could not be reached before press time.

EQT initially invested in Parkia in 2011 through a carve-out from listed Spanish developer Acciona, after which the company joined forces in MutuaPark to run 58 car parks across Spain and Andorra. Following the 2014 merger, EQT owned 66.8 percent and Mutua Madrileña 33.2 percent of the enlarged Parkia, which is now twice the size it was in 2011.

The deal comes just a week after First State announced the acquisition of French district heating business Coriance from KKR, a coveted asset the US firm originally bought from Italian energy company A2A in September 2012 for €76.5 million.

It was unclear what structure First State planned to use to fund the investment. The firm is currently raising its European Diversified Infrastructure Fund 2, a follow-on vehicle from EDIF1, which it closed in 2015 on €2 billion.

Car parking assets have proven popular of late among infrastructure investors, with Ardian Infrastructure and insurer Crédit Agricole Assurances earlier this month upping their stake in Indigo, by buying out original owner Vinci.

The two partners had originally bought their 75 percent stake in the business in 2014 in a deal valuing the car park operator at €1.96 billion.