IFM set for Spanish water acquisition from FCC

The prospective deal will grow the Australian fund manager’s portfolio in Spain, alongside the €2.8bn acquisition of OHL Concesiones which is expected to close soon.

Australia-based fund manager IFM Investors has entered “advanced exclusive negotiations” in a bid to buy Spanish water group FCC Aqualia.

The group’s open-ended Global Infrastructure Fund is looking to buy a 49 percent stake in the company from parent Spanish construction firm FCC, the listed company told the Spanish Stock Exchange.

Through the deal IFM would buy almost half of FCC’s segment that accounted for 30.4 percent of its €597.1 million EBITDA in the first nine months of last year, latest available figures show. More than 13 million of FCC Aqualia’s 23.6 million customer base is in Spain, with a further 1.3 million in the Czech Republic. The company also has a presence in Italy and Portugal and operates water treatment plants in Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa.

However, FCC’s water business also holds €1.4 billion of non‐recourse net debt, accounting for 60.5 percent of the company’s overall amount.

The move comes as IFM works on closing its protracted €2.8 billion deal with listed Spanish group OHL for the acquisition of OHL Concesiones, which owns 20 operating concessions in Spain, Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Peru. The deal is expected to close before the end of this quarter.

The IFM Global Infrastructure Fund, which, as of 21 February stood at $10.65 billion according to Infrastructure Investor data, also holds stakes in the UK’s Anglian Water and Wyuna Water in Australia.