3i Group plc (“3i”) today announces it has agreed to invest alongside management in Smarte Carte International Holdings, Inc. (“Smarte Carte” or the “Company”), a leading concessionaire of essential infrastructure equipment. With over 140,000 owned units consisting primarily of airport baggage carts and self-storage lockers, the Company serves the global travel and leisure industry. The enterprise value of the transaction is $385m.
Founded in 1967, Smarte Carte currently operates at over 2,500 locations across seven countries including the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, the U.K., and Singapore. Over the last 50 years of successful operations, the Company has sustained market leadership in airport baggage carts, self-storage lockers and other vended equipment through long-term customer contracts. Smarte Carte’s average customer relationship is over 24 years. Recently, the Company was selected as the preferred vendor for customised delivery lockers for the United States Postal Service pilot programme.
With 80% of Smarte Carte’s revenue derived within the U.S., the Company is poised for additional domestic and international growth. 3i will appoint Greg Hart, Chief Operating Officer for United Airlines, as a non-executive director to the Smarte Carte board of directors (alongside two 3i directors), to help guide this future growth. For over 20 years, Greg has held various leadership positions at United Continental Holdings (NYSE: UAL) overseeing global airport operations, customer service and technical operations.
Rob Collins, Managing Partner, 3i North American Infrastructure, commented:
“The global travel and leisure market has changed in recent years and now provides more revenue opportunities from outsourced baggage carts and other essential services. As the market leader, Smarte Carte has grown durable cash flows through decades of economic cycles. Our team looks forward to partnering with management to grow Smarte Carte’s global footprint, especially in Europe where 3i has an established track record in the airport sector through its investments in Belfast City Airport and (through 3i Infrastructure plc) in airport ground-handling equipment company TCR.”
Ed Rudis, President & CEO, Smarte Carte, added:
“We look forward to working with 3i and rolling management equity alongside 3i’s equity investment. We feel that the 3i team’s approach, sector knowledge and international presence make them the right partner to support the next stage of Smarte Carte’s growth.”
In March 2017, 3i launched its North American infrastructure investment platform. 3i intends to fund further North American infrastructure investments initially with its own balance sheet with a view towards deploying third-party capital in due course.
For further information, contact:
3i Group plc
Tel: +44 20 7975 3258
Kathryn van der Kroft
Tel: +44 20 7975 3021
About 3i Group
3i is a leading international investment manager focused on mid-market Private Equity and Infrastructure. Its core investment markets are northern Europe and North America. For further information, please visit: www.3i.com
About 3i’s Infrastructure business
3i is a leading global infrastructure investor, with a track record of investing in infrastructure since 1987. The team of approximately 35 investment professionals manages or advises a number of infrastructure investment vehicles, including 3i Infrastructure plc, 3i European Operational Projects Fund, 3i India Infrastructure Fund, 3i MIA and two PPP-focused funds, BIIF and BEIF II.
About Smarte Carte
Headquartered in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, the Company is a leading supplier and manager of vended equipment in the travel and leisure industry. Smarte Carte owns and manages baggage carts as the sole provider in 125 locations (including 49 of the top 50 airports in the U.S.). The Company also owns and manages lockers and other consumer-rental equipment in amusement parks, fitness clubs, shopping malls and ski resorts.