28 December 2022  |  Paris

DIF Capital Partners and PGGM enter exclusive negotiations with EQT Infrastructure to acquire 50 percent of its stake in Saur

  • A consortium composed of DIF Capital Partners and PGGM has entered exclusive negotiations with EQT Infrastructure to acquire 50 percent of its stake in Saur, a leading provider of water services management solutions in France and internationally
  • Saur plays an essential part in the societies it operates in, fueled by its mission to protect and preserve water availability and quality, while minimizing discharge through efficient wastewater recycling
  • The broadened shareholder base adds new resources and expertise to support the continued long-term development of Saur’s pure-play water infrastructure platform

DIF Capital Partners is pleased to announce to have formed a consortium with the Dutch pension fund service provider PGGM (together, “the Consortium”) to enter exclusive negotiations with EQT Infrastructure III and IV funds (together, “EQT Infrastructure”) to acquire 50 percent of its stake in Saur (the “Company”). The Consortium members will each acquire 25 percent of EQT Infrastructure’s shares.

Headquartered in Paris, France, Saur is a leading innovator and service provider in the global water sector, working alongside thousands of municipalities across the globe to deliver drinking water and collect wastewater for more than 20 million people. In addition, through its Industrial Water division, the Company provides integrated water infrastructure solutions to hundreds of international blue-chip customers. Saur is present in more than 20 countries and enjoys strong market positions with long-term contracts in France, Portugal, Spain, and the Middle East.

Since the acquisition by EQT Infrastructure in 2018, Saur has undergone a successful commercial and operational transformation along with a refocus on core activities and geographical growth. EQT Infrastructure has supported the launch of a new organizational structure, accelerated organic and inorganic growth through the completion of 15 add-on acquisitions, while supporting expansion to Portugal and North America. Moreover, EQT Infrastructure has helped develop the Company’s new Industrial Water division, while implementing an ambitious ESG strategy and digitalization roadmap.

EQT Infrastructure, DIF and PGGM are committed to investing in Saur’s long-term development, providing the necessary resources and expertise to secure stability and continuous growth over the coming years. Saur is set to continue its strategic 2030 agenda focused on reinforcing its core water infrastructure activities in France and Iberia, while accelerating organic and inorganic geographic expansion and further developing its Industrial Water Solution division.

For PGGM Infrastructure Fund this acquisition contributes to the overall ambition of PGGM to invest its client PFZW’s pension capital in such a way that good and stable financial returns are combined with positive social benefits that improve livability. At the end of Q3 2022, PGGM had invested EUR 44.9 billion in Sustainable Development Investments across different asset classes, of which EUR 1.52 billion has been in water-related investments (SDG 6) in different parts of the world.

Delivering returns responsibly is one of the goals of DIF’s investment and asset management strategy, and the envisaged investment in Saur perfectly fits in this approach. DIF already has a strong footprint in water and energy transition investments as part of the more than EUR 15 billion in assets that it manages.

Matthias Fackler, Partner within EQT Infrastructure’s Advisory Team, said, “In times of rising concerns around water scarcity, Saur is a critical pillar in the societies it operates in, providing local municipalities and their citizens with clean drinking water and efficient wastewater treatment. EQT Infrastructure is proud of Saur’s development so far and we now look forward to entering its next phase of growth journey together with our new partners PGGM and DIF Capital Partners”.

Patrick Blethon, Executive Chairman of Saur Group, said, “EQT Infrastructure has been and will continue to be our partner in the construction and execution of the group’s transformation and growth acceleration strategy, mobilizing its platform to serve our corporate project. Welcoming PGGM and DIF Capital Partners onboard alongside EQT Infrastructure represents a great opportunity for Saur to develop faster and stronger.”

Dennis van Alphen, Head of Infrastructure at PGGM, said, “In today’s investment environment it is more and more important that pension capital is invested not just for financial return but to make an active contribution to society’s challenges. The envisaged investment in Saur is a seamless fit with that strategy, providing communities and companies across the world with access to clean water. We are excited to embark on this journey with our partner DIF Capital Partners and EQT Infrastructure.”

Gijs Voskuyl, Partner and Head of Infrastructure at DIF Capital Partners, said, “DIF is very excited to partner with PGGM and EQT Infrastructure in this transaction in the water sector. Saur has a very sizable and largely concession-based position in the French and Iberian Peninsula water sector and has strong growth potential, especially in the industrial water space. DIF firmly believes in Saur’s management team and looks forward to jointly growing the company towards being a sustainable leader in the industry.”

The transaction is subject to customary conditions and approvals and is expected to close in Q2 2023.

EQT Infrastructure was advised by Rothschild & Co. PGGM and DIF were advised by UBS.

About DIF Capital Partners

DIF Capital Partners is an independent infrastructure fund manager, with more than EUR 15 billion of AUM. DIF was founded in 2005 and has built a leading position in managing mid-market investments, primarily in Europe, North America and Australia.

DIF follows two strategies: its traditional DIF funds, of which DIF VII is the latest fund in the series, invest in lower risk mid-sized infrastructure projects and companies in the energy transition (incl. renewables) and utilities sector, as well as PPPs and concessions. The firm’s CIF funds invest in small to mid-sized companies that will thrive in the new economy. These companies are typically active in the digital, energy transition and sustainable transportation sector.

With a team of over 200 professionals in 11 offices, DIF Capital Partners offers a unique market approach combining global presence with the benefits of strong local networks and investment capabilities. DIF is located in Amsterdam (Schiphol), Frankfurt, Helsinki, London, Luxembourg, Madrid, New York, Paris, Santiago, Sydney and Toronto.

For more information please visit www.dif.eu.


Contact DIF: Thijs Verburg, t.verburg@dif.eu

19 December 2022  |  Schiphol

Congratulations to our 36 employees that have been promoted this year!

People have always been DIF’s greatest asset and the work our employees do doesn’t go unrecognised.

Join us in wishing them every success in their new role. This is the full list of this year’s promotions per grade. Congratulations to all of you!

Rhea Castelino CA Origination Associate
Claudia Harrington GB Asset Management Associate
Alexander Mend NL IT Associate
Foucault Monguillon FR Origination Associate
Josh Simpson CA Asset Management Associate
Samira Taarabti LU Finance Associate
Serhat Torbali LU Legal & Regulatory Associate
Jack Woodruff AU Asset Management Associate
Thomas van Agtmaal NL Origination Associate
Kees Arets NL Origination Associate Director
Gurpreet Badwal CA Origination Associate Director
Daniel Beri US Origination Associate Director
Marlon Berkhoff NL Finance Associate Director
Sybren Bruin NL Finance Associate Director
Amit Joshi GB Asset Management Associate Director
Stephanie Koning NL Finance Associate Director
William Alink NL IR & BD Director
George Craig CA Origination Director
Jonas Freise DE Origination Director
Annemiek Houben NL Legal & Regulatory Director
Bastien Zehntner FR Origination Director
Paul Adams NL IR & BD Managing Director
Luis Hinojosa CL Origination Managing Director
Mathieu Hévin FR Origination Managing Director
Kanan Joshi US Origination Managing Director
Aymeric Piquet-Gauthier FR Asset Management Managing Director
Roger Roumen NL Finance Managing Director
Thijs Verburg NL IR & BD Managing Director
Marissa Dardi GB Asset Management Senior Director
Karen Fluks NL Compliance Senior Director
Joeri Heijnen NL Finance Senior Director
Philip Newzella DE Asset Management Senior Director
Charlie Websper GB Origination Senior Director
María-José Crespo ES General Senior Management Assistant
Andrea Mueller DE General Senior Management Assistant
Sasha Roberts GB General Senior Management Assistant
13 December 2022  |  Schiphol

Infrastructure investors must see the wood for the trees when it comes to ESG impact | blog

There is no doubt that the environmental, social and governance (ESG) impacts of infrastructure investments are of increasing interest to regulators, investors and civil society. That is good news, but it’s also important this impact is understood in a holistic way, telling the full story of the infrastructure project we fund.

Currently, much of the debate with LPs on ESG impact is focused on managing and minimising the adverse impacts that all infrastructure projects have. New rules such as the EU’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulations (SFDR), rightly, demand transparency and accountability in areas such as reducing emissions, improving health and safety or decreasing biodiversity loss.

That is much needed, but focusing on the minimisation of harm also risks failing to see the wood for the trees.

Intrinsic benefits

For those who work in our sector the connection between infrastructure investment, economic growth and societal benefits is very clear.

The hospital and school investments we make improve health and enrich education. Fiber networks get thousands online to close the digital divide. Clean energy assets are laying the foundations for the low-carbon economy and roadbuilding enables millions of drivers to travel more quickly, safely and efficiently.

Across the world, infrastructure is helping in achieve the challenges of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

So just as we should not solely use a traditional cost/benefit analysis to narrowly focus on just the financial viability of an asset; we should not use ESG analysis to solely focus on reducing harm. That risks overlooking the wider inherent benefits our sector creates.

Measuring positive outcomes

To address this challenge and showcase promising practices my firm, DIF Capital Partners, has worked with specialist sustainability consultants to develop an ‘Intrinsic Benefits Tool’.

The aim of the tool is to provide both a sector- and country-level analysis for each sector we invest in that identifies the intrinsic benefits an investment might provide.

It is based on impact metrics developed by UNEP-FI and its scores measure both positive and negative impacts that can be linked back to the SDGs. It also considers each country’s specific needs or issues. A school investment in a country lacking teaching capabilities, for instance, would score higher than a similar investment in a country with abundant education facilities.

For example, we used the tool when considering our investment in Airtower, a US wireless company providing the next generation wifi networks. It helped show how these networks enable first responders such as ambulance drivers to deal with emergencies, contributing to SDG 3 (Good Health & Well-being), build smart, sustainable cities (SDG 11) and use cloud migration to reduce the need for emissions-intensive local servers (SDG 13).

It provided a similar role for our investment in Greener, a market leader in mobile battery solutions in the Netherlands, showing that Greener contributes positively to SDG 9 (Industry, innovation, and infrastructure), SDG 11 (Sustainable cities and communities), and SDG 13 (Climate action) by supplying clean energy and mitigating the impacts of climate change.

The tool is part of a holistic attempt to understand ESG risks and opportunities in our investment process which also includes a screening mechanism during pre-investment, and active monitoring and management of an investee’s potential negative impacts throughout our ownership.

A brighter infrastructure investing picture

We live in a world where megatrends such as digitisation, energy transition, urbanisation and consumption continue to foster demand for infrastructure investing. But it is also a world where projects must continuously report on their environmental and social impacts, and show they align with public policy goals such as the SDGs.

As the sector beds in systems and standards to allow that to happen we must strike an appropriate balance between how we are generating and reporting financial returns, the action we are taking to minimize negative impacts, but also the wider long-term public benefits that are being delivered by our hospitals, schools, networks and other infrastructure too.

Frank Siblesz is Head of ESG at DIF Capital Partners