Private equity firm Antin surges after Paris debut

Antin Infrastructure Partners SAS updates

French private equity firm Antin Infrastructure Partners soared on its first day of trading as investors bet on a spending boom in wealthier nations.

In the biggest initial public offering on Euronext Paris to date this year, Antin, one of Europe’s largest infrastructure investment funds, and its founders raised €550m — the latest in a long line of PE groups tapping public markets.

Antin’s shares were priced at €24, but shot up more than a quarter to €30 in early morning trading on Friday. 

The infrastructure boom was a “trend which is structural and can only grow”, Alain Rauscher, co-founder and managing partner of Antin, told the Financial Times.

“Investments that had been carried out by states are now being carried out by private investors like ourselves.”

The Paris-based company’s IPO comes amid a spate of PE companies choosing to go public in recent months. In July, Bridgepoint became the first private equity firm to list on the London Stock Exchange since 1994.

Goldman Sachs plans to list its alternative asset manager, Petershill Partners, in London. And US private equity firm TPG has appointed banks to work on its IPO as it inches closer to a public listing it has mulled for a decade.

“When Bridgepoint came to market, people started thinking this is a crazy sector, this is really appealing,” said Rauscher.

This year has proved to be a boon for private equity firms, which had their busiest half-year since records began four decades ago, striking deals worth $500bn.

Rauscher said he was quite “pessimistic” about the “mind-boggling” amounts of capital being promised by governments waxing lyrical about investing in infrastructure as part of pandemic recovery plans: “It’s like old wine in new bottles . . . is it going to be implemented? And if so, when and how?”

That, he thinks, will open up space for PE groups to occupy.

Antin said it had sold 14.5m shares to raise €350m in capital. About €200m of shares were also sold by the company’s executives, with existing partners still maintaining a majority stake, leaving a free float of between 13 and 15 per cent.

Formed in 2007, Antin manages four funds that invest in infrastructure in Europe and North America, with a focus on energy and the environment, telecommunications, transportation and social sectors. A fifth fund is due to open next year.

The firm has raised approximately €17bn of capital since its creation, with holdings in UK telecoms group CityFibre and UK motorway services operator Roadchef.

It expects earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation to reach €92m this year, down from €132m in 2020. The IPO costs came in at about €16m. Antin’s current ebitda margin is 60 per cent.

Net income is forecast to reach approximately €60m in 2021, down from €93m last year.

JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley acted as joint global co-ordinators and joint bookrunners, while BNP Paribas, Bank of America and Citigroup also acted as joint bookrunners.

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