4 May 2018 – Expansión
Ardian and its partner Predica (Credit Agricole) have decided to put on hold the sale of their parking lot subsidiary Indigo, one of the giants in the European sector with significant interests in Spain. The shareholders, which have been looking at various options for their investment over the last year, have opted to re-leverage the company in the end, with a €700 million bond issue, which will be used to refinance some of the debt that expires in 2020, and also, to distribute an extraordinary dividend to shareholders.
With this move, the possible sale of the former VinciPark has been put on hold, after Ardian went off the idea of divestment in 2017 when it did not obtain satisfactory offers for the asset. According to sources close to the operation, Indigo’s shareholders were left with three options: put the “for sale” sign back up; re-leverage the company and distribute an extraordinary dividend to the shareholders; or encourage a merger agreement with other parking lot groups.
Until a few weeks ago, all three options were on the table. One of the possibilities involved exploring an alliance with the Spanish firm Saba. The parking lot group controlled by Criteria (La Caixa) is also undergoing a process of transformation after the decision was taken by its minority shareholders, which together hold a 49% stake, to exit the company. That round of contact did not prosper and Indigo decided to begin the procedure to launch a macro debt issue, which took place on 12 April.
Sources in the sector believe that a merger between Saba and Indigo would have business logic given the minimal overlap and their capacity to form a group with sufficient critical mass to explore a stock market listing. Trading on the stock market has always been the ultimate dream of Saba’s founding partners. By contrast, Ardian avoids investments in listed groups (…).
Indigo is, together with Qpark and Apcoa, the largest parking lot group in Europe. According to the latest available figures, the company recorded turnover of €897 million in 2017, with an EBITDA of €310 million. The company’s net financial debt amounts to €1.666 billion. Saba and Empark also feature in Europe’s Top 8 ranking of the largest parking lot groups, but their turnover figures are significantly lower than those of Indigo and QPark.
According to experts, another factor that would contribute to accelerating the corporate movements in the sector is the ownership structure. The giants in the sector are owned by investment funds and private equity firms with a relative dearth of long-term investors. QPark is controlled by KKR, whilst the German firm Apcoa is owned by Centerbridge. Ardian controls Indigo and Macquarie is the new owner of Empark. Saba is the only company with an industrial shareholder – Criteria – and a long-term interest (…).
Although not its largest market, Indigo conducts significant business in Spain. Revenues amounted to €41 million in 2017, with an EBITDA of almost €20 million. It is Indigo’s third largest market in Europe, after France and the United Kingdom. The outlook for Spain is positive. According to the consultancy firm DBK, revenues from the rental of parking spaces (…) in Spain and Portugal amounted to €1.145 billion in 2017, which represented an increase of 3.8% with respect to the previous year. In 2016, that figure grew by 4.5%.
Original story: Expansión (by C. Morán)
Translation: Carmel Drake