PGGM acquires minority stake in French toll highway operator APRR

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PGGM acquires minority stake in French toll highway operator APRR

Dutch asset manager PGGM has acquired a minority interest in Autoroutes Paris-Rhin-Rhône (APRR) from Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund I (MEIF I) for an undisclosed sum.

Macquarie sold the 14.3% stake in the group held by its first European fund to a consortium of investors including PGGM. The other investors have not been made public. MEIF 1, established in 2004, is nearing maturity and in the process of returning profits from sales to its investors.

PGGM didn't disclose how much it had bought of APRR, or the price it had paid, but the stake is smaller than 14.3%, a spokesman for the Australian group confirmed.

Macquarie is retaining the 15.6% and 20.1% stakes it owns in APRR Group through MEIF 2 and Macquarie Atlas Roads, a listed Australian entity. APRR's other principal owner, with 50%, is the Eiffage Group.

APRR is the concessionaire of a major French toll road network, which consists of 2,264 km of operating motorway, and is the fourth largest toll road operator in Europe. This network is located in the heart of Western Europe. It serves major business centers as well as touristic destinations. The network  includes the Paris-Lyon route (A5, A6 and A39) that links France's two largest metropolitan areas, the Burgundy-Northern Europe route (A31, A36), Alpine motorways in the Rhône-Alpes region (A40, A41, A42, A43, A48, A49 and A51 Nord) and motorways in central France (A77 and A71). It also serves as a gateway to Central and Southern Europe.

In 2013, APRR made a net profit of €442 million on revenues of €2.4 billion. It also paid its shareholders a €400 million dividend.

Henk Huizing, Head of Infrastructure at PGGM:

"We are very pleased with our investment in APRR. It fits into our mandate to invest in infrastructure in Europe. APRR has a long history of operation and its business model has proven to be resilient throughout the economic cycle. Given its premium strategic location, the toll road network has a pivotal role in traffic flows in Western Europe and France for trade and tourism. We expect APRR to benefit from France's economic recovery in coming years. This asset provides robust inflation-linked yield profile, which is an excellent match with our clients' pension liabilities."

In addition to this French toll road network, PGGM has over the last few years invested significant amounts in other European road assets amongst others in the Netherlands,  Germany, Spain, Portugal and Ireland through its partnerships with Royal BAM and Globalvia.
PGGM retained Nomura as financial advisor for this transaction.

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