Meridiam seals Portuguese motorway deal

The French firm’s acquisition of Norscut, the A24’s holding company, marks its first investment in the Iberian country.

Meridiam Infrastructure has acquired Norscut, the concessionaire of the A24 motorway in Portugal, for an undisclosed amount.

The deal sees the Paris-based fund manager take over the business from the company’s four shareholders: French developers Eiffage (36 percent) and Egis (10 percent); Portuguese retailer Sonae Group (36 percent); and French lender BPCE (18 percent).

While Meridiam declined to disclose how much it paid for the asset, Sonae said it had sold its stake for €42 million. After a recent sale of its 15 percent interest in motorway operations and maintenance company Operscut to Egis, in addition to the Norscut deal, Sonae, a group with interests in sectors ranging from shopping centres to information systems, no longer has any outstanding road investments.

The A24 reached its €726 million financial close in 2000 with help from a syndicate of 25 banks, including a €324.3 million contribution from the European Investment Bank.

The Norscut transaction represents Merdiam’s first deal in the Iberian country. In a statement, chief executive Thierry Déau said the firm was open to further investments in the region.

“Meridiam is willing to continue investing in Southern Europe, in countries which need our financing and project development expertise.”