Ardian and Credit Agricole to acquire stake in Italian airports

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Ardian and Credit Agricole to acquire stake in Italian airports

Italy's infrastructure investor F2i has achieved an agreement to sell 49 % of F2i Aeroporti, a company that holds stakes in some of Italy's main airports, to Ardian and Credit Agricole Assurances.

F2i Aeroporti holds a 44.31 % stake in Milan's SEA airport operator, Italy's second-largest airport operator by passenger numbers and Europe's ninth-largest. The firm also owns a 50.8 % stake in Turin airport operator SAGAT and 70 % of Naples airport operator GESAC, and indirectly holds minority stakes in Bergamo and Bologna airports.

The 49 % of F2i Aeroporti has an estimated value of €400 million (US$487.7 million).

F2i Aeroporti had appointed banks HSBC and UniCredit to find a long-term equity partner to take a minority stake in the company. This transaction is expected to help F2i further  develop the business.

The firm represents the largest airport platform in Italy, with 35 % of air passenger traffic and almost 70 % of the air cargo market. F2i's airport investments reported combined, proforma core profit of €254 million in 2013, on proforma revenues of €1 billion. Debts stood at around €545 million.

In December 2013, Ardian announced the acquisition of Bank of America Merrill Lynch's interest as financial sponsor of fund F2i.

In mid March we reported that Argentina's Corporación America had launched takeover bids for the companies that operate Italy's Pisa and Florence airports. The offer was made by Cedicor, which controls Corporacion America and holds a 33.4% stake in the company that manages Florence's airport and a 27.3% stake in the Pisa airport operator.

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