KKR and Investindustrial may sell Port Aventura for 1 billion euros

KKR and Investindustrial may sell Port Aventura for 1 billion euros

Investindustrial and KKR are activating the sale of one of their longest-standing investees. The private equity funds are sounding out the market to divest the flagship amusement park in Spain, PortAventura, according to financial sources. The transaction is expected to be worth around 1 billion euros.

After a second record-breaking summer, the leisure and tourism sector can finally sign its recovery after the fateful years of Covid-19. Venture capital funds are beginning to glimpse that, with the yoke of the accounts now dissolved, a window of opportunity is opening up for them to press the sales button on their investees. This is the case of PortAventura, a company that is perhaps the longest-lived in the portfolio of private equities operating in Spain.

Investindustrial, the Bonomi family's fund, entered the capital almost 15 years ago as a partner of Criteria, with whom it had a 50/50 split. In 2012 it acquired the shares of the Catalan holding company, which had previously taken over the theme park from Universal, and in 2013 it found a new partner, KKR, which acquired 49.9% for 200 million and allowed the Italian fund to reap substantial capital gains.

Under the leadership of these two funds, the first major Spanish theme park, inaugurated in the 1990s, has experienced major growth. In addition to increasing the number of attractions in the main park and the adjoining water park, Investindustrial and KKR have opened another theme park, Ferrari Land, and have strengthened the hotel offer with new openings.

Both Investindustrial and KKR have been preparing the sale of Port Aventura for some time. In January this year they refinanced a loan of 700 million with which they covered the purchase of the company.

The company had a loan of 620 million that was due next year. This debt replaced a 420 million bond issue that the company launched in 2013. The company has now signed a new loan with a group of banks led by JP Morgan and HSBC, in which the two shareholders also participate. This means extending the maturities until 2026 even at the cost of increasing its price. The interest rate goes from the three-month Euribor at 2.6% plus 350 basis points to a spread of 500 basis points.

This move gave the funds more leeway to approach the disinvestment without the debt stone in their shoe. The sale process is still at a preliminary stage and all indications are that they will entrust the process to JP Morgan, which already led the refinancing.

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