3i and Meag acquire locomotive rental company Nederlands Spoorwegen
Infrastructure investor 3i buys rail vehicle leasing company Disa Assets from Dutch state rail operator Nederlands Spoorwegen. Disa owns 54 diesel trains, which it leases to Abellio on a long-term basis. Following the purchase of the company, 3i has refinanced the Disa business with money from institutional investors. Nothing is known about the value of the transaction.
The acquisition of Disa in the bidding process was closely tied to the successful refinancing of the leasing company. The new investors include Meag Munich Ergo Asset Management, the joint asset manager of Munich Re and the Ergo Group, and Sumitomo Mitui Banking Corporation (SMBC). The latter contributes to the financing mix with a traditional bank loan, while Meag invests in bonds issued by Disa. The refinancing replaces a Kfw-Ipex loan financing at an early stage.
The asset manager is looking for alternative long-term investments in view of the low interest rates that can be realized on the capital market. This is the second time that the subsidiary of the two insurers has invested in rail vehicles. The risk-related higher interest rates on these assets result from the fact that the vehicles can run for 24 years, but the public transport contracts that guarantee their use only run for 12 years. So the investors are speculating that the vehicles will be used again afterwards.
Abellio was awarded the concession to operate the network in Central Germany in 2015 and has been operating it since the end of 2018. With nine million train kilometers, the contract is one of the largest in German local rail passenger transport (SPNV). Abellio is also a subsidiary of the Dutch state railroads.
Advises 3i European Operational Projects Funds: Ashurst (Frankfurt)
Dr. Benedikt von Schorlemer (Corporate/M&A), Derk Opitz (Financing; both lead), Dr. Maximilian Uibeleisen (Infrastructure/M&A), Holger Mlynek (Infrastructure/Public Commercial Law), Dr. Philip Cavaillès; Associates: Jan van Kisfeld, Jan Ischreyt (all Corporate/M&A)
Advisor Nederlandse Spoorwegen/NS Financial Services
Clifford Chance (Munich): Markus Muhs (Lead; Corporate/Private Equity), Dr. Christof Häfner (Banking), Thorsten Sauerhering, Dr. Dominik Engl (both Tax; the latter three Frankfurt); Associates: Dr. Wenzel Richter, Konstantin Heilmann (both Corporate/Private Equity)
Inhouse Law (Utrecht): Bart van Horssen, Michel Hoogendorn, Ronald Klein Wassink, Osman Aksoycan