A consortium comprising Dutch pension asset manager PGGM and DIF Capital Partners has agreed to buy a 50% stake in French water company Saur from Swedish investment firm EQT.

DIF and PGGM will each acquire 25% of EQT Infrastructure’s shares in Saur for an undisclosed sum. The deal has been agreed with the EQT Infrastructure III and IV funds.

Founded in 1933, Paris-headquartered Saur serves around 7,000 French local authorities under long-term contracts. Saur also has a presence in more than 20 countries including Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Spain, and Poland.

EQT Infrastructure, which acquired Saur in 2018, said since the acquisition, Saur has undergone a ”commercial and operational transformation along with a refocus on core activities and geographical growth”.

EQT Infrastructure said it has supported the launch of a new organisational structure, accelerated organic and inorganic growth through the completion of 15 add-on acquisitions while supporting expansion to Portugal and North America.

The latest deal broadens Saur’s shareholder base and adds new resources and expertise to support the continued long-term development of Saur’s pure-play water infrastructure platform, the companies said.

EQT Infrastructure, DIF and PGGM said they 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”.

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, mobilising 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, the 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, a 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.”

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