20 January 2015
STAR Capital Partners announces the sale of its investment in Eversholt.
STAR Capital Partners (“STAR“) and its co-investor PGGM (together the “STAR Investors”) have today announced that they have signed agreements to sell their entire stake in Eversholt Rail Group (“Eversholt”), one of the three leading rail rolling stock companies in the UK, to CK Investments S.A.R.L., a company jointly owned by Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Limited and Cheung Kong (Holdings) Limited, (together, “CKI”) for an equity value of approximately £1.1 billion.
The enterprise value of the transaction is approximately £2.5 billion. The completion of the transaction remains conditional upon receiving clearance from the European Commission under the EU Merger Regulation and it is anticipated that the transaction will close in March 2015.
The STAR Investors acquired its interest in Eversholt in December 2010 as part of a consortium with 3i Infrastructure plc and Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners (together “the Consortium”). All of the investors in the Consortium have elected to sell their entire interest in Eversholt to CKI.
Eversholt owns approximately 28% of the current UK passenger train fleet. Its 19 fleets, predominantly weighted towards electric trains, are leased to 11 Train Operating Companies. Eversholt also owns a fleet of freight locomotives.
Over the past four years, the Consortium has worked closely with the management team to establish Eversholt as a successful independent company. The Consortium has supported the business in its re-franchising programme and in assessing a range of capital investment opportunities, both to add further trains to the overall fleet and to invest in upgrading existing assets to provide better passenger experience and improved reliability, at good value for money for customers.
In addition, the Consortium has strengthened Eversholt’s governance through the appointment of several highly experienced non-executive directors, and optimised the company’s capital structure through the issuance of three long-dated public bonds totalling £1.1 billion in December 2010 and March 2011, a private placement of £150 million in December 2012 and two further bank refinancings in November 2013 and November 2014, on attractive terms.
Commenting on the agreed disposal Paul Gough, Partner of STAR said:
"We are very pleased with the sale of Eversholt to CKI which generates exceptional returns to our limited partners. This transaction adds to our track record of disciplined acquisitions as well as crystallising returns through timely sales. Eversholt has performed very well during our investment period and we expect it to continue to thrive, led by its strong management team, and under the ownership of CKI, which has considerable experience in managing infrastructure assets across the globe."
Frank Van Lennep, Head of Infrastructure PGGM, added:
"We are pleased to have had the opportunity to co-invest alongside STAR (as one of the STAR 2 fund's largest LPs and a co-investor) in this highly successful investment. Not only is Eversholt a strongly performing company, but it also provides a significant contribution to the reduction of CO2 emissions by facilitating environmentally-friendly means of mass transport in the UK. We hope to be able to make similar investments alongside STAR in the future."