Carlyle parks capital in bus investment

Carlyle Infrastructure Partners has invested in the seventh-largest school bus transportation business in the US.

The Carlyle Group has acquired an Illinois-based school bus company, marking the fourth acquisition for its $1.15 billion infrastructure fund. 

According to a Carlyle source, Carlyle Infrastructure Partners invested in the Illinois Central School Bus company of Joliet, Illinois. The source did not disclose the terms of the transaction, which closed recently.

Illinois Central: school bus
transportation backed by
Carlyle Group

The Illinois Central School Bus Company is the seventh largest school bus transportation business in the US, according to its website. The company buses children to and from schools in Illinois, Indiana and Minnesota.

Carlyle Infrastructure Partners isn’t the first infrastructure investor to back a school bus business. Macquarie Capital previously acquired Petermann, an Ohio-based school bus business.

For Carlyle, the deal falls into a category of investments it calls “public-benefit, essential service” infrastructure, which is one of the investment mandates of Carlyle Infrastructure Partners. 

These are companies that support the development and maintenance of communities and, as a result, often hold long-term, monopolistic contracts in the communities in which they operate. Illinois Central, for example, holds contracts at 55 school districts for terms of three  to five years, according to its website.

The deal marks the fourth acquisition out of Carlyle Infrastructure Partners, which closed on $1.15 billion in November 2007. 

The fund’s other investments include Synagro, a Texas-based provider of sewage waste transportation; ITS Technology and Logistics, a freight container handling company based in Illinois, and Project Service, a Carlyle joint-venture that holds a 35-year concession to redevelop, operate and maintain 23 service stops in Connecticut.

As of the Connecticut deal, which closed in December 2009, Carlyle Infrastructure Partners was one-third invested and one-third through its investment period, InfrastructureInvestor.com previously reported. 

The fund is headed by Washington DC-based Robert Dove and New York-based Barry Gold.