Doughty Hanson timetables first Spanish deal with bus buyout

The European private equity firm has embarked on its first deal in Spain since opening its office in September this year with the acquisition of Avanza, a bus operator.

Doughty Hanson & Co, a European private equity firm, is buying Avanza, a market-leading, family-owned Spanish bus operator, for an undisclosed sum, which sources close to the deal said it was worth about €600m ($795m).

Avanza, which is based in Madrid, is Spain’s largest urban bus operator and second largest long-distance operator.  It is also Spain’s largest operator of bus stations.

It is Doughty Hanson’s first private equity portfolio investment in Spain, since opening an office earlier this year.

Apax Partners, Advent International and CVC Capital Partners also submitted bids in the auction, which was run by Spanish bank Arcano Group.

Francisco Gutierrez Churtichaga, Doughty Hanson’s managing director in Madrid, said the deal expands Doughty Hanson’s commitment to the Spanish market, where it was present through other European investments with operations in Spain such as LM Glasfiber, a wind turbine blade manufacturer.

Atlas Capital advised Doughty. HVB, the German investment banking arm of Italy’s UniCredit, is providing the debt.