France’s Ardian Mulls Opening Madrid Office

FRANCE’S ARDIAN MULLS OPENING MADRID OFFICE

France’s Ardian Mulls Opening Madrid Office

Independent French private equity (PE) firm Ardian is reported to be considering opening an office in Madrid, in a move which demonstrates Spain’s increasing importance as a hub for international investment.

Ardian, formerly Axa Private Equity, already has a range of investments in Spain, including a 15 percent stake in energy company CLH. The firm offers its clients a broad choice of assets, ranging from a Fund of Funds to Private Debt and Direct Funds which include Mid Cap Buyout – and these opportunities in the middle market are the ones which are boosting PE business in Spain.

In 2013, US buyout groups like Blackstone and Cerberus showed their confidence in the Spain’s ability to recover from a deep almost five-year downturn by snapping up portfolios of properties and loans. But with the economy now back on track, investors are focusing more on medium-sized companies, looking for value and growth opportunities. With Spain outperforming most of the rest of Europe, foreign investors are keen to take advantage of its potential.

Many PE firms have already set up representative offices in Madrid to monitor their investments. Alternative asset management giant Kohlberg Kravis Roberts opened its first office in Madrid in February.

So Ardian will be in good company if its plans come to fruition!

 

ARDIAN BETS ON SPAIN INFRASTRUCTURE ASSETS

Ardian has US $50 billion under management and is present in 10 capital cities, including in Europe and in Peking, Singapore and New York. It currently has 340 employees.

It has been active in Spain since 2007, focusing on the infrastructure sector. It has a 35 percent stake in Vinci Park, a subsidiary of Grupo Vinci, the world’s leading infrastructure concessionary. Vinci Park is near to closing a 900 million euros acquisition of Empark, which manages car parking places in Spain.

Just last year, Ardian acquired 65 percent of Tunels Barcelona e Cadi from the Brasilian bank BTG Pactual. Leading Spanish infrastructure manager Abertis, which has partenered Ardian in other projects in Spain and France, owns the remaining 35 percent.

 

SPAIN PE MARKET HEATING UP

There has been a resurgence of PE-backed deals in Spain over the last year and more are expected in the coming months as macro conditions and business confidence improves.

As domestic demand picks up, albeit slowly, consumer-related businesses such as food retail will be in international investors’ sights. Other attractive targets are mid-sized exporters in the machinery and manufacturing industries, given the continued positive outlook for Spain’s export sector.

For information on investing in Spain, contact corporate law firm Argali Abogados.

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