Citi has been hired by infrastructure investor Macquarie to explore the potential sale of service station provider Moto in a deal estimated to be worth £1.1 billion (US$1.7 billion).
Estimated valuation of the deal emanates from a comparison with the sale of UK peer Roadchef to European fund Antin Infrastructure, a £153 million (US$237 million) deal which was closed in 2014. The value of the business was approximately 12.5 times its earnings. With 2014 core earnings (EBITDA) of around £91 million (US$141 million), a similar valuation puts Moto at roughly £1.1 billion (US$1.7 billion).
Both private equity groups and infrastructure funds could find interest in the asset. Allianz, ADIA and PSP are all expected to be enthusiastic following first round bids which have just gone in.
Moto Hospitality is a company which operates 58 motorway service stations across the United Kingdom. Moto employs roughly 6,000 people across 45 locations in the UK. Macquarie has managed Moto since Compass Group sold it in April 2006 for £1,822 million.
Moto refinanced its debt in March 2015 in infrastructure-fashion, meaning the arrangement came with portability, allowing debt to stay put under new ownership. This is appealing to potential buyers as there is no need to find debt financing to support an acquisition.