PAI sells Antargaz stake to UGI

PAI Partners, the Paris-based private equity firm, has completed the sale of its 70 percent stake in Antargaz, the liquid petroleum gas (LPG) distributor, to American company UGI.

UGI, the largest liquid petroleum gas (LPG) operator in the US through its Amerigas subsidiary, has acquired Antargaz, the French LPG business in which PAI Partners held a 70 percent stake.

UGI already owned a 20 percent interest, having been a participant in the PAI-led €540 million buyout of the company in March 2001. That deal arose from the forced disposal of Antargaz as a condition for EC approval of the $48.2 billion merger of TotalFina and Elf Acquitaine in 1999 – the biggest hostile takeover in French industrial history.

Medit, the Italian gas distributor that also invested in the original buyout in exchange for a ten percent stake, has also sold its holding to UGI. The latest deal values Antargaz at €655 million.

With a 24 percent market share, Antargaz is one of the four largest retail LPG distributors in France, delivering 336 million gallons annually of propane and butane nationwide to over 220,000 customers. The firm employs 1,200 staff and has revenues of approximately €680 million.

Said Lon Greenberg, UGI chairman and CEO: “The acquisition of the remaining interests in Antargaz meets all of our well established tenets for international investments in propane: Antargaz is in an attractive market, with excellent cash flow characteristics; it allows us to leverage our propane distribution operating expertise; and has strong local management in place.”

UGI already has a significant European presence. Through its FLAGA subsidiary, it is one of the largest propane distributors in Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, selling approximately 33 million retail gallons of LPG annually. 

PAI has led a number of large European buyouts in recent years including United Biscuits, the UK biscuit manufacturer (€2.3 billion) and Elis, the European textile rental and well-being services business (€1.5 billion).

PAI was advised on the sale of Antargaz by US-based international law firm Weil Gotshal & Manges. UGI was advised by the Paris office of international law firm Hogan & Hartson.