Partners backs Turkish gas distributor

This is the second emerging market gas deal sealed by the Swiss fund manager this year, after it invested $750m in Mexico’s Fermaca last February. 

Zug, Switzerland-headquartered Partners Group has bought 30 percent of Enerya, a Turkish natural gas distributor.

The fund manager acquired the stake from Turkey’s SFTA Group, Enerya’s parent company, which will continue to hold the remaining equity. Enerya will be run on a joint-venture basis.

The size of the transaction was not disclosed.

Enerya owns and operates nine natural gas distribution companies in Western and Central Turkey, each with exclusive 30-year concession rights in their respective region. The company is forecasted to be handling a total volume of about 2.8 billion m3 of natural gas annually and to reach 800,000 subscribers by the end of 2014.

“Energy and gas consumption per capita in Turkey are far below those in other developing countries, despite strong historical growth, so we see a real opportunity to expand Enerya's business together,” said Aslan Uzun, chief executive of Enerya, in a statement.

Partners Group intends to use Enerya as a platform for expansion, partly through consolidation due to the fragmented nature of the gas distribution market in Turkey. The company is also considering gaining a foothold into other sectors of the energy market including electricity and other generation technologies.

The move follows Partners Group’s $750 million investment in Fermaca, a Mexican gas pipeline business, in February. The firm hopes to benefit from last December’s Mexican Energy Reform, which allows private investment in the country’s oil and gas sectors for the first time since 1938.

Partners Group last month released a report warning on a recent peak in core infrastructure valuations, and singled out less-explored emerging markets as potentially promising sources of better-priced deals.