Private equity firms acquire ONroute travel plazas

Two private equity firms have acquired ONroute, a chain of travel centers along Ontario’s busiest highways.

U.K.-based Arjun Infrastructure Partners and Canada’s Fengate Asset Management purchased ONroute for an undisclosed terms from Canada-based KD Infrastructure L.P. and a Canadian subsidiary of HMSHost. The transaction, which closed on May 26, was announced on June 13.

“ONroute is a unique, high-quality transportation infrastructure investment in Ontario that will deliver long-term, stable cash flows to our investors,”  Andrew Cogan, Fengate’s managing director for infrastructure investments, said in a statement. “We are very impressed with the quality of ONroute’s people, infrastructure, locations and operations, and this acquisition is an excellent fit with our investment strategy.”

Autogrill (BIT:AGL), the Italian owner of HMSHost, offered a clue about the transaction size when it disclosed its subsidiary had netted C$255 million from the sale. (A Canadian dollar equals US$0.75.) Autogrill noted that the ONroute generated US$111 million in 2018.

ONroute operates 23 facilities along Highways 400 and 401 under a 50-year concession agreement from the province on Ontario, which ends in 2060.

ONroute launched seven years ago, and serves 40 million customers annually. The facilities cater to trucks and conventional motorists. Apart from fuel and rest areas, Onroute centers offer a selection of fast food eateries.

Consistent across the network is the presence of a Tim Hortons, the Canadian coffee-and-doughnut chain.

Arjun Infrastructure is part-owner of Welcome Break, a chain of highway service centers in the U.K.

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Nate Tabak, Canada Correspondent

Nate Tabak is a journalist, editor and producer in Toronto. He covers Canada for FreightWaves, with a keen interest on the cross-border economic relationship with the United States. Nate spent seven years working as an investigative editor and reporter based in Kosovo. He covered everything from corruption to the country’s emerging wine industry. He also reported across the Balkans and investigated Albania’s multibillion-dollar marijuana industry with a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Nate grew up in Berkeley, Calif. He enjoys exploring Toronto with his wife and is always looking forward to his next meal.


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