Client stories

NatWest advises on financing of Stagecoach acquisition

The rise of infrastructure

With more than €833 billion of assets under management (as of 30 June 2022), DWS Group is one of the world’s leading asset managers. Building on more than 60 years of experience and with more than 3,600 employees worldwide, the company offers its clients investment solutions across all major liquid and illiquid asset classes as well as investment opportunities aligned to growth trends.

DWS is also one of the largest global infrastructure investment managers, investing in airports, transportation, utilities and energy-related assets. DWS has been involved in landmark infrastructure transactions, including the acquisition of UK transport company Stagecoach in May this year (acquired through its Pan-European Fund III (PEIF III)). Founded in 1980, Stagecoach is the UK’s biggest bus operator with services connecting more than 100 major towns and cities in England, Scotland and Wales. Headquartered in Perth, Scotland, and employing around 24,000 staff, Stagecoach also runs coach and tram services.

Financing package ensures Stagecoach’s Investment Grade rating maintained

Maintaining an Investment Grade rating was a critical component to PEIF III’s acquisition of Stagecoach. NatWest initially undertook a detailed evaluation of the existing Stagecoach capital structure, and then proceeded to work with PEIF III to undertake indicative rating analysis on certain acquisition financing structures to ensure that PEIF III could raise the necessary incremental financing to support the bid, whilst at the same time preserving the rating. In parallel to the rating assessment, NatWest raised incremental funding to be made available at completion of the share purchase. The facility, fully underwritten on a sole basis by a separate NatWest Bank lending team, was successfully syndicated shortly following completion of the M&A timetable. In addition, NatWest supported on engagement with Stagecoach’s existing funders to ensure continuity of the existing capital structure. PEIF III and Stagecoach remain highly committed to decarbonising its fleet, and the go-forward financing structure established through the acquisition process is designed to facilitate this.

NatWest committed to contribute to economic progress in the UK and Europe

Stephen Davies, Head of Debt Financing, PEIF III, said: “We are very pleased to have secured this financing package to support our acquisition of Stagecoach. Our commitment to maintaining an Investment Grade rating for the business is absolute, and was a key component of how we approached the deal. The structure that NatWest helped us to establish affirms that commitment. Our acquisition provides immediate value for Stagecoach shareholders and paves the way for the Stagecoach team to deliver enhanced services for passengers and communities across the UK. A big thank you to the NatWest team for their excellent guidance and advice throughout the process.”

Joe Taylor, Infrastructure Finance, NatWest, commented: “We are delighted to have been able to help PEIF III on this process. This mandate called upon our experience in debt structuring and ratings advisory, in addition to raising financing, all delivered within an acquisition timetable. Stagecoach plays a key role in the UK’s transport sector. It has been serving communities across the UK for over 40 years, and has more recently launched an exciting sustainability strategy that will deliver significant social and environmental benefits. We’re proud that we can actively contribute to economic progress in the UK through this financing.”

Disclaimer

The information provided in this article has been prepared by National Westminster Bank Plc (NatWest) for information purposes only and is subject to change from time to time. The information and views expressed should not be treated as advice or a recommendation of any kind. NatWest makes no representation, warranty, undertaking or assurance of any kind (express or implied) with respect to the adequacy, accuracy, completeness, or reasonableness of the information provided and disclaims all liability for any use you, your affiliates, connected companies, employees, or your advisers make of it. NatWest accepts no liability whatsoever for any direct, indirect, or consequential losses (in contract, tort or otherwise) arising from the use of this material or reliance on the information contained herein. However, this shall not restrict, exclude, or limit any duty or liability to any person under any applicable laws or regulations of any jurisdiction which may not be lawfully disclaimed.

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