The Australian industry fund-owned IFM Investors has agreed to buy a 49% stake in the Spanish water management company, FCC Aqualia, for €1.02bn from Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas.

FCC Aqualia is the fourth-largest water management company in Europe, with 23% market share of Spain’s water management market.

The deal marks IFM Investors’ entry into this market in Continental Europe.

The Melbourne-based fund manager, which manages more than AUD100bn (€62.7bn) in infrastructure assets globally, has 15 years’ experience in the sector.

FCC Aqualia is the FCC parent company for end-to-end water management. It controls all stages of the water cycle, from the supply of drinking water to treatment of wastewater.

Frederic Michel-Verdier, IFM Investors’ executive director – Europe, described the acquisition as “a rare opportunity” to invest in a fast-growing, international leader in water management.

“We admire the company’s strategy of ambitious but prudent growth outside its domestic market, and its commitment to customer service,” he said.

The transaction is subject to relevant merger control approvals and the consent of FCC’s senior lenders. Financial close is anticipated by the end of August.