The British fund Arjun Infrastructure finalizes its entry into the transport infrastructure market in Spain with the purchase of Infravia’s 33.4% stake in the concessionaire for lines 1 and 2 of the Malaga Metro. According to financial sources, the agreement is very close to being signed and the amount of the operation, which has been advised by BBVA, would exceed 200 million euros.
In the absence of the usual authorizations in this type of operation, Arjun will enter the capital of Metro de Málaga after its main shareholders, the Junta de Andalucía, which holds 23.69%, and the French fund Vauban Infrastructure Partners – linked to the manager of Natixis-, the first investor with 43%, have ruled out exercising their right of first refusal, according to market sources close to the process.
Arjun Infrastructure will reinforce with this purchase its position in Spain just a few months after initiating its landing with renewables
With this purchase, Arjun Infrastructure will strengthen its position in Spain just a few months after initiating its landing in the Iberian market with the acquisition from Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) of 49% of the Monegros onshore wind project, with a capacity of 487 MW.
The British fund, founded in 2015, has already tried in the past to make the leap to Spain. It did so, for example, with ACS’s divestment two years ago of the majority of its stake in six shadow toll roads. The Hermes fund, also English and under the control of the same manager as Arjun, prevailed in the final stretch.
Arjun and Hermes are two of the investment funds based in the United Kingdom that have burst into Spanish infrastructures with force in recent years. Other firms with a prominent presence are Aberdeen, Equitix, John Laing, 3i or RiverRock.
The Malaga Metro improved its profit in 2020, despite the pandemic, by 4.7% more than in 2019, to 24.6 million euros, with a gross operating result (ebitda) of 42.6 million , compared to almost 40 million the previous year and sales of 55.8 million, compared to 57.6 million the previous year. The number of travelers who used lines 1 and 2 of the Malaga underground reached 3.6 million, 47% less than in 2019. The concession extends until 2042.
The sale and purchase of the Malaga Metro is one of the few transport infrastructure operations that have come onto the market in recent months in Spain, in a context in which the pandemic has drastically deteriorated demand, causing the interest of the funds, with abundant liquidity, it is generally downward.
The exit of Infravia, a French fund that last year acquired the largest transporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) by tanker in Spain, Molgas, comes six years after it entered the capital of Metro de Málaga. Together with Macquarie they took 40% from Cajamar, Cointer (Azvi) and Sando. The Australian fund transferred its stake to Mirova (today Vauban) two years later and in 2018 the two French funds bought 25.8% of Globalvia and Comsa.