Goldman Sachs buys majority of Endesa network

Two of Goldman’s infrastructure funds have acquired a combined 80% stake in Endesa’s 3,800-kilometre Spanish gas distribution network for €800m. Endesa will be able to buy back the stake either five years or seven years after the closing of the deal, expected later this year.

Two infrastructure funds managed by Goldman Sachs have acquired a combined 80 percent stake in the gas transport and distribution business of Spanish firm Endesa, the latter announced today in a regulatory filing.

Goldman Sachs is thought to have beaten competition from two other infrastructure investors: French firm AXA Private Equity and Australia’s Macquarie. Spanish banks BBVA, Caja Madrid, La Caixa and Santander are said to be providing debt for the deal.

Endesa said the transaction valued its assets at €1 billion, pricing the 80 percent stake acquired by Goldman Sachs at €800 million. Endesa, which is 92 percent-owned by Italian utility Enel, said the sale will have a “positive impact” of €450 million on its pre-tax profit and €800 million on its net debt, €235 million of which come from the deconsolidation of the debt associated with the assets sold, it added.

The deal also includes a 35 percent stake in Gas Aragon, sold by Gas Natural to Endesa for at least €70 million. Gas Natural, Spain’s largest gas distributor, announced the stake sale today in a separate filing to Spain’s competition authority, explaining the deal had been contingent on Endesa selling a majority stake in its business to a third-party investor.

The assets acquired by Goldman Sachs comprise a gas distribution grid spanning 3,800 kilometres, a transport network of 600 kilometres and 355,000 access points across Spain, Endesa said in a statement. The deal is expected to close later this year with Endesa having the opportunity to buy back the 80 percent stake five years or seven years after the closing of the deal, it added.