Houlihan Lokey Advises the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development

Houlihan Lokey is pleased to announce that it has successfully advised the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development on the disposal of its controlling stake in Geasar S.p.A., the management company of the Olbia Costa Smeralda airport in Sardinia, to infrastructure fund manager F2i SGR S.p.A. (F2i). The transaction closed on 26 February 2021.

Olbia Costa Smeralda airport is the second largest airport in Sardinia and one of the main hubs in Europe for private jets. Thanks to its iconic and exclusive tourist destination in the Costa Smeralda area, the airport has experienced exceptional passenger growth over the last years and still has significant growth prospects, which are supported by investments of more than €120 million for the expansion of the terminal and runway capacity.

F2i is Italy’s largest independent infrastructure fund manager, with assets under management of approximately €5 billion, holding relevant interests in the main Italian airports for approximately 32% of the national traffic. Through the Olbia Costa Smeralda airport, F2i will consolidate the airport operations of northern Sardinia, combining it with its existing portfolio airport of Alghero, in order to create a network of 4.4 million total passengers.

Houlihan Lokey acted as the exclusive financial advisor to the seller by originating and negotiating all aspects of the transaction on its behalf. Despite the COVID-19 crisis, which has severely affected the entire global airport sector (including Olbia Costa Smeralda). With traffic substantially reduced to zero from March to May 2020 and still dramatically down today, Houlihan Lokey has been able to achieve a pre-COVID-19 premium valuation for the seller. This transaction demonstrates Houlihan Lokey’s strength in the infrastructure sector in Italy as well as the benefits of deep local relationships.

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