Car Parks: Isolux Joins Forces With Oak Hill

28 January 2015 – Expansión

Cash inflow of €100 million / The group, which is in the middle of an IPO, has granted its new partner the option to buy its car park business from 2019.

Isolux has strengthened its car park subsidiary, one of the outstanding loose ends in its business, which will become more attractive through this transaction, as the company continues with its plans to go public in mid-February. Specifically, the Spanish group has signed an agreement with the fund Oak Hill Capital Partners to jointly develop the business.

The investment firm has injected €100 million into the company in the form of a loan, which is fully intended to increase the company’s portfolio of assets. In return, Isolux has granted Oak Hill an option to take ownership of the car park subsidiary from 2019.

The agreement transforms Isolux Infrastructure into one of the most active competitors in the Spanish parking sector. The car park business map has undergone a profound transformation in the last year, due to: the divestment processes that are underway (the sale of the market leader, Empark); the merger of companies (Mutua Madrileña and EQT have created a joint venture); and the award of large public concessions (Saba has acquired car parks from the Ayuntamiento de Barcelona, as well as some of those previously owned by Aena).

Currently, Isolux is one of the largest operators in the sector, with almost 24,000 parking spaces; it generated revenues of €14 million to September last year and a gross operating profit (EBITDA) of €8 million during the same period.

The agreement with Oak Hill, signed last year, ends a period of uncertainty for this branch of Isolux’s activity, which it had put up for sale after other attempts to form strategic alliances had fallen through. At the beginning of 2013, the Spanish group signed a preliminary agreement with the French fund Edifice Capital for the investment of €150 million between 2013 and 2014. The resources were going to be used to purchase new car parks with the aim of reaching 50,000 spaces in total. Surprisingly, the French firm did not keep to its word and withdrew from the project.

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Original story: Expansión (by C. Morán)

Translation: Carmel Drake

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