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Investindustrial Acquires a 50% Shareholding in Portaventura, The Largest Amusement Park in Southern Europe

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  •  Investindustrial has acquired a 50% stake in Southern Europe’s largest theme park PortAventura through a capital increase of approximately €100 million;
  • Proven industry and track record; Investindustrial previously owned Italy‘s largest theme park Gardaland, which it successfully exited in 2006;
  • The transaction represents another important milestone for Investindustrial in its consolidation of the Southern European market; on September 1st, the firm announced one of Italy’s largest deals of 2009 when it launched the tender offer of curtain wall maker Permasteelisa.

Investindustrial (www.investindustrial.com) ., on 10th September, entered into an agreement with Criteria CaixaCorp (www.criteria.com), a Spanish listed investment company controlled by Spanish savings bank La Caixa, to acquire a 50% ownership in PortAventura (www.portaventura.es). With over 3 million visitors per year, PortAventura is Southern Europe’s largest theme park and one of the three largest in Europe.

The investment is being made through a capital increase of €95 million. The closing is expected for year-end and subject to conditions precedent and regulatory approvals.

Investindustrial already has a significant presence in Spain with central offices in Barcelona and control investments in sectors such as helicopter services (Inaer Group, www.grupoinaer.com), security software (Panda Security, www.pandasecurity.com), hair restoration (Svenson, www.svenson.es) and urban waste management (Contenur, www.contenur.com). Investindustrial’s current investments in Spain are expected to generate sales in 2009 of €500 million with an EBITDA of €102 million and 3, 500 employees. The firm also has a minority ownership in leading certification services company Applus (www.applus.com). Including PortAventura (but not the minority investment in Applus), Investindustrial’s Spanish control investments will have expected combined 2009 sales of approximately €640 million and employ 6, 000 people.

Adding to Criteria CaixaCorp’s expertise, Investindustrial will continue to invest in PortAventura to reinforce its leadership as a leading European theme park and leisure asset. Investindustrial has already proven itself in the sector as a majority owner of Gardaland, the largest Italian theme park with approximately 3.5 million visitors annually. During the firm’s ownership, Gardaland’s sales and profitability increased significantly, and investments were made in new attractions, a hotel, a conference centre and a theatre.

With the transaction, PortAventura is being divided into two separate companies. The first, in which Investindustrial will hold a 50% stake, includes the theme park, the acquatic park Caribe, the hotel operations of Hotel PortAventura, Caribe Resort, Gold River, El Paso, and the future congress centre excepted to open at the end of 2009. The second company will continue to be wholly owned by Criteria CaixaCorp and includes the commercial and residential real estate assets (excluding the theme park), the three golf courses and the Beach Club.

Criteria was advised by AZ Capital on this transaction and Lazard served as advisor to Investindustrial.

Andrea C. Bonomi, Chairman of Investindustrial, stated: “Spain has long been a strategic market to us with proven successes in the past. As is the case in PortAventura, we always invest with a long-term industrial approach in sectors we know well and in close collaboration with experienced management teams.”

Según Gonzalo Gortázar, Criteria’s CEO, commented: “With the addition of Investindustrial as a shareholder of PortAventura, Criteria gains a reputable and experienced partner. Through the new industrial plan, which has an estimated €80 million of investments over the next four years, the park will further strengthen its leadership in Southern Europe with a clear benefit for customers, employees and shareholders of PortAventura.”

About PortAventura

PortAventura is Southern Europe’s largest theme park located between Vila-seca and Salou in Catalonia, a one-hour drive from Barcelona. Since its opening in 1995, the park has always offered unique attractions and the best shows for all family members. In 2008 the park had 3.6 million visitors from Spain and abroad. At the end of 2009, PortAventura expects the opening of its new 14, 500 square meter large conference center with a capacity of 4, 000 people.

About Investindustrial

Investindustrial is a leading Southern European investment group which provides industrial solutions and capital to mid-market companies in Southern Europe. Its mission is to actively contribute to the development of the companies in which it invests, by creating growth opportunities and offering global solutions through an entrepreneurial pan-European vision. Investindustrial currently has €2.1 billion of assets under management, including the most recent fund Investindustrial IV raised in February 2008 with €1 billion in total commitments.

About Criteria CaixaCorp

Criteria CaixaCorp is an investment company controlled by La Caixa Group. Listed at the Madrid Stock Exchange since October 2007, the Group has a strong focus towards internationalization and management of its owned assets by having as guidelines a controlled risk and the aim of increased growth, development and profitability of its investee companies. With €14.8 billion of net assets as of June 30 2009, Criteria CaixaCorp manages the largest investment portfolio in Spain.

For further information please reach Carl Nauckhoff at +41 91 2608326 (cn@investindustrial.com)

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