First State pays John Laing €147m for Polish road share

The firm’s second flagship European vehicle, which First State is currently raising, has acquired nearly 30% of the owner of a €1.5bn motorway project.

A subsidiary of First State’s second European Diversified Infrastructure Fund (EDIF II) has bought John Laing’s 29.7 percent stake in Gdansk Transport Company, the owner and operator of the A1 motorway project in Poland, in a deal worth €146.9 million.

FS Amber Holdings, a wholly owned subsidiary of EDIF II, acquired John Laing’s holding in the company overseeing Poland’s two-phased A1. It joins as one of the largest shareholders alongside Swedish construction firm Skanska (30 percent), Polish developer NDI Autostrada (25 percent) and Hungarian motorway firm Intertoll Infrastructure Development (15 percent).

The purchase price is subject to a maximum increase of €1.5 million and decrease of €4.5 million, dependent on any dividend paid by Gdansk Transport Company.

The first phase of the motorway, a 90 kilometre link from Gdansk to Nowe Marzy in northern Poland, reached a €650 million financial close in 2005 as part of a PPP project. The second phase, a 60 kilometre extension, hit its €900 million close in 2009. Senior debt for both phases were provided by the EIB, Nordic Investment Bank and Swedish Export-Credit Corporation.

Philippe Taillardat, co-head of infrastructure investment management at First State, told Infrastructure Investor in August that EDIF II had secured funds of more than €400 million and seeks to close the first tranche of the fund with total commitments at between €700 million and €900 million by the end of the year. Its predecessor reached its €2 billion target in January 2015.

EDIF II made its first investment in June, acquiring French district heating business Coriance from KKR.

The A1 deal is expected to close in the first quarter of next year.