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Mirova makes maiden Italian investment

The Natixis subsidiary has bought an 85% stake in heating firm Aton through its €700m Mirova Core Infrastructure Fund.

French fund manager Mirova has sealed its first ever investment in Italy after closing a deal to buy 85 percent of district heating firm Aton.

The Natixis Asset Management subsidiary agreed the deal with Italian energy company Siram, which is owned by French utility Veolia. Siram will continue to hold a 15 percent stake in the company.

Aton is the operator of a district heating network that includes a cogeneration plant in the northeastern Italian city of Udine. The project comprises 14km of heating pipelines linking the city’s hospitals, schools and universities. Some two-thirds of the €113 million scheme were financed by private funds made available by Siram.

The deal, which is also Mirova’s first in a district heating company, was made through the Mirova Core Infrastructure Fund. The brownfield PPP-focused vehicle closed in July on €700 million, a year after its €600 million first close. It has invested a total of €425 million in 18 assets that include stakes in Arema, the operator of Marseille’s Velodrome stadium, and Alis, the concessionaire of France’s A28 motorway.

The agreement to buy Aton is only the fund’s second investment outside of France. Earlier this year, MCIF closed a deal for a 24.7 percent stake in Metro de Malaga from Macquarie Group.

“[This new investment] fits perfectly with MCIF’s diversification strategy across sectors and European countries,” said Mounir Corm, Mirova’s deputy head of infrastructure.