Eugenio Hinojosa Resumes Empark Negotiations

13 October 2015 – Expansión

The Spanish businessman Eugenio Hinojosa has resumed his plans to purchase Empark, the leading car park company in Spain and Portugal. The operation could amount to around €900 million, including debt. Hinojosa, one of the largest operators of parking spaces in Madrid, has resumed talks to purchase Empark after exclusive negotiations broke down between the shareholders of the parking company and the funds that control Vinci Park (Ardian and Crédit Agricole), the car park giant in France.

Last week, sources close the operation said that the negotiations are progressing and only a few minor details now need to be resolved relating to avals, guarantees and creditor approvals (mainly bondholders) due to the change in control of the company. “Financing is not a problem”, assured the sources consulted.

Hinojosa plans to join forces with other partners, including the company Andersen Partners, to buy Empark. Empark declined to comment on the matter. Empark’s controlling partner with a 50.3% stake, is Assip, a vehicle named after the Portuguese company A. Silva & Silva, which is in turn controlled by the founding families of the company who participate in the management of the group. The main executives of Empark, which manages 500,000 parking spaces in Spain, Portugal, UK and Turkey, are José Augusto Tavares (Chairman), Pedro Mendes (CEO) and Antonio Moura.

The remaining capital is divided amongst several investment funds, managed by BES (22%) and Ahorro Corporación (8.2%). The Mello family holds a 2.6% stake. In theory, these partners are also selling their respective stakes in the company. Ahorro Corporación’s stake is now being managed by the fund GED Capital.

Political risk

In July, Vinci Park reported that the negotiations to purchase Empark had broken down after the due diligence (audit of the assets) was completed with findings that were not satisfactory. Sources close to the company say that behind the decision was the high exposure that Empark has to town halls governed by parties linked to Podemos following the municipal elections in May.

Eugenio Hinojosa, who is a related by marriage to the founding family of Cortefiel, has been building up a sizeable portfolio of car park assets in Madrid, and now owns more than 12,000 parking spaces. He was one of the main competitors in the tender for the Aena car parks in 2013, but was his offer was outbid by Empark and Saba. He managed to suspend the award after filing a special appeal with the Central Administrative Court of Contractual Appeals against the airport operator’s decision, but then lost the ruling.

In 2014, the controlling shareholders of Empark engaged JPMorgan and Caixa Banco de Investimento (CBI) to find a buyer. One of the reasons for their exit from the company (they purchased it from Ferrovial in 2009) has been the financial problems of its Portuguese partners, which have undergone a complicated bankruptcy process and have had to make loan repayments in recent months.

Empark closed 2014 with sales of €180 million and an EBITDA of €66 million. As well as managing some of the busiest car parks in Madrid, Aena awarded the group the operation of its car parks in the Western region (including Barajas) in 2013, requiring the management of 40,600 parking spaces. Two years ago, the company also won the tender to manage 82,000 ground-level parking spaces in Madrid.

Original story: Expansión (by C. Morán)

Translation: Carmel Drake

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