Ardian, Credit Agricole to Buy Majority of Vinci Car Parks

Credit Agricole Assurances and partner private equity firm Ardian Sarl are poised to buy a majority stake in Vinci SA’s parking-lot division in a deal valuing the business at 1.96 billion euros ($2.7 billion).

Ardian and Credit Agricole are in exclusive talks to acquire a 37.5 percent stake each in the business, and Vinci’s Concessions division will hold 25 percent, the companies said in a joint statement.

Vinci, Europe’s biggest builder, is completing a partial exit from the parking business as it refocuses on airport concessions in countries including Chile to tap growing airline traffic. To counter a slowdown in European construction, the Rueil-Malmaison, France-based company bought Portuguese airport operator ANA-Aeroportos de Portugal SA last year for about 3.1 billion euros and raised its stake in Aeroports de Paris.

“It’s good news for Vinci, the press had mentioned a much lower price last week,” Eric Lemarie, an analyst with Aurel Bgc in Paris, said in a note to clients. Lemarie has a buy rating on the stock. Vinci shares fell 0.5 percent by 09:09 a.m. in Paris.

Vinci began the sale of its parking-lot business last year, Bloomberg reported in October. The unit had 2012 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of 210 million euros. Vinci Parks provides retail parking spaces at venues including hospitals, airports and city center locations across Europe.

Growth Potential

The aim of the deal is to increase Vinci Park’s presence in high-growth markets such as North America, Latin America and Asia, while maintaining its leadership positions in France and other European countries, the companies said in a statement.

“Car parks is a fine business, it’s the business that allowed us to establish the Vinci brand,” Vinci Chief Executive Officer Xavier Huillard said on a call Feb. 6.

“It’s not that we don’t believe the strong growth potential,” he said adding that without a sale of the unit, Vinci would “blunt the dynamism of Vinci Park because we can’t keep pace.”

The deal will be finalized after consulting employee representatives and, if necessary, antitrust approval.

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