PF Archive

F2i and AXA's refinancing guzzles gas assets

01 11 2011

F2i and AXA reached financial close on 3 October on the Eu2.66 billion ($3.5 billion) refinancing of their three Italian gas network businesses – the G6, Enel Rete and E.ON Rete networks. The deal has gearing of 70% and involves just under Eu2.2 billion of debt. The F2i Reti Italia consortium – 75% owned by F2i, the equity fund of state postal savings company Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) and 25% by AXA Private Equity – has cut a swathe through the Italian gas network market by winning three auctions of assets in a row. The vendors in each case have divested assets to concentrate on their core business and deleverage their balance sheets, a Europe-wide phenomenon among utilities. Following F2i Reti Italia’s investment in Enel Rete Gas in September 2009, and its recent acquisition of E.On Rete April 2011, the recent G6 acquisition from GDF Suez that closed in parallel to the refinancing reaffirms its position as the main independent operator in the Italian natural gas distribution market, with a 17% market share in terms of customers managed, and second only to the Eni group. The Eu2.2 billion debt splits into a Eu1.865 billion seven-year acquisition fac­ility with an underlying tenor of 22...