Macquarie reverses back into parking with Empark deal

The deal by MEIF5 comes about two weeks after MEIF2 sold its interest in National Car Parks.

Macquarie’s €4 billion fifth European infrastructure fund has bought Iberia-based car parking operator Empark.

MEIF5 has acquired full control of the company from shareholders ASSIP (50.4 percent), Parkinvest (28.4 percent), the Espírito Santo Infrastructure Fund (12.9 percent), and Transport Infrastructure Holding Company (8.3 percent).

Both parties declined to comment on the size of the deal, although Spanish press reports placed it at about €1 billion. The figure would represent a 15 times multiple of Empark’s 2016 EBITDA of €71.9 million, the same multiple paid recently by KKR and EDF Invest for Q-Park.

Empark’s portfolio includes more than 535,000 parking spaces predominantly in Spain, although it also retains a presence in Portugal, the UK, Andorra, France and Turkey. The company, previously known as Emparque, significantly expanded its base in 2009 when it paid Cintra €451 million for its parking business, adding almost a further 300,000 spaces to the company’s offering.

However, financial fortunes soured slightly from 2011, when revenues stood at €187.7 million, falling to €179.1 million in 2013. After a slight recovery, Empark’s owners sought to sell the business in 2015, announcing a deal with Ardian, Crédit Agricole Assurances and Vinci as owners of Indigo. However, the agreement broke down in July after negotiations were deemed not “acceptable by all parties”. The group’s latest finances report record revenue levels since it merged Cintra’s business into the portfolio, generating €201.1 million of revenue in 2016 after a renewed focus on its international markets.

The move by Macquarie sees it return to the parking sector after its second infrastructure fund sold UK-based National Car Parks to Japanese operator Park24, supported by the Development Bank of Japan, two weeks ago in a deal worth £450 million ($590.2 million; €503 million). The fund had paid 3i £790 million for NCP a decade earlier. Martin Stanley, global head of Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets said Empark will leverage “MIRA’s significant sector knowledge” and explore “growth opportunities within the parking sector”.

MEIF5 investments also include the Green Investment Bank and the 580MW Race Bank offshore wind farm in the UK, as well as EP Infrastructure, a utility based in the Czech Republic.