Globalvia, the Spanish fund manager, has acquired a 30 percent stake in the companies that operate Barcelona’s tram network.
The firm will thus become the main shareholder in the system, which carries 24 million passengers a year, and is now the largest rail investor in Spain. Globalvia already has a strong presence in the country’s capital, where it operates several metro and train lines.
The Barcelona deal will see it add two new concessions to its portfolio: the Baix Llobregat and the Besos line. The former, which runs from the city’s Avenida Diagonal to Cornella, includes 29 stops; the latter, linking Northeast Barcelona with neighbouring cities Sant Adria del Besos and Badalona, counts 27 stops. Both started operating in 2004, and have modal interchanges with the city’s subway and commuter train system.
The acquisition will be financed by Globalvia’s PPP-dedicated fund, which the firm raised in 2011 with commitments from Dutch pension fund PPGM and Canada’s OPTrust. The vehicle has an initial size of €400 million but can be expanded to €750 million.
Globalvia was created in 2007 as a joint venture between Spanish transport conglomerate FCC and national lender Bankia, formerly Caja Madrid. With 38 infrastructure assets in the roads, rail, ports, airports and hospitals sectors, it bills itself as the world’s second largest investor and operator of transport projects. It mostly invests in brownfield concessions.
The firm intends to refocus on road and rail projects in the coming years, while striving to increase geographical diversification.