MEIF2 offloads share of APRR in €440m deal

The deal is part of a pre-emption rights take-up by Macquarie Atlas Roads, which now has a 25% ownership of the French motorway operator.

Macquarie’s European Infrastructure Fund II is to sell part of its share in French motorway operator APRR in a €440 million deal.

Macquarie Atlas Roads (MQA) exercised its pre-emption rights to buy shares from MEIF2 and MMIT, another Macquarie vehicle, increasing its ownership of APRR from 20.14 percent to 25 percent.

MEIF2, which bought into APRR in June 2010, owned approximately 16 percent of the motorway operator, for which MQA had pre-emption rights to acquire 9.7 percent. APRR, whose owners also include Eiffage, PGGM and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, is the second-largest motorway operator in France, operating a 2,323km network.

In a note published in June, Credit Suisse said ASX-listed MQA was likely to acquire additional stakes from MEIF2 at attractive prices given the complexity of governance, which it said would make it difficult for the fund to get “attractive offers from other investors”. MQA’s deal was made at an offer price of A$5.12 ($4.1; €3.41) per share, implying an enterprise value of APRR of €17.6 billion, a 10.2 multiple on its June 2017 EBITDA of €1.7 billion.

MQA said its increase in ownership will be funded by a A$450 million equity raising, as well as a €150 million debt facility. The firm also announced plans to reduce base management fees payable by MQA to its manager Macquarie Fund Advisers from 1.0 percent to 0.85 percent per annum, effective from the beginning of next month.

“APRR is an irreplicable, mature infrastructure asset that has underpinned MQA’s portfolio value and distributions since our inception,” said Peter Trent, chief executive of MQA. “The acquisition provides us with greater exposure to APRR’s favourable outlook and its leverage to French economic growth and trans-European trade.”