Parking space available

While in the US investors are struggling to convince local authorities to monetise their parking garages, developers across the Atlantic have been offering a steady stream of deal flow in the sector to willing infrastructure funds.

Sellers have included a trio of big Spanish infrastructure developers – Acciona, ACS and Abertis –which are divesting non-core assets to pay down debt and fund new investments. Acciona and Abertis have already entered into agreements to sell their car parks businesses while ACS is said to be testing the market for buyers.

Abertis was first to sell its car parks and logistics units to a consortium of Spanish investors – Torreal, ProA Capital and Criteria, the investment arm of Catalan savings bank La Caixa – in a deal valued at €400 million in equity. Abertis’ car parks business owns 138,000 spaces across 200 car parks in Spain, France, Italy, Chile, Portugal and Andorra.

The sale is seen as a result of private equity firm CVC Capital Partners’ purchase of a 15.5 percent stake in Abertis last year, which prompted the sale of non-core assets, including a stake in toll road operator Atlantia for €626 million earlier this year.

Acciona framed the sale of its parking division as part of its “corporate strategy of rotation of mature assets”. The developer sold the majority of its car parks unit, including 29 car parks and 16,000 parking spaces in Spain and Andorra, to Swedish infrastructure fund EQT Infrastructure for €180 million, including debt. It also sold a majority stake in a car park in Rio de Janeiro to a Brazilian car parks operator for €10 million, netting a total of €190 million from its parking divestments.

As for ACS, its bid to sell 36 parking garages comprising some 21,000 spaces is seen as a way to raise money to fund its ongoing takeover of German infrastructure company Hochtief and the purchase of increased holdings in Spanish utility Iberdrola. ACS’ car parks unit is expecting revenues of €12 million and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of more than €5 million for 2011.