Tank & Rast

Tank & Rast holds 90% of German motorway concessions for petrol stations, shops, restaurants and hotels

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Tank & Rast sits at the core of Germany’s transport network as an essential infrastructure asset due to its market leading position on Europe’s busiest motorway network, the German autobahn. It holds 90 per cent of German motorway concessions for petrol stations, shops, restaurants and hotels. This includes around 390 service areas, 350 filling stations and 50 hotels. The highly cash- generative and stable-tenanted operating model is supported by long-term government concessions and a significant fixed revenue component, with revenues diversified across retail, restaurants, advertising and concession fees, toilet facilities and fuel sales. 

At acquisition, traveller penetration, conversion rates and expenditure per km travelled were significantly below other European countries, offering room for Tank & Rast to better utilise the strength of its position on the autobahn. The business also had a large tenant base, meaning there was an opportunity to enhance performance by allowing the most effective tenants to operate more sites.

Investment strategy 

Asset-Backed: The Tank & Rast network includes around 390 service areas, 350 petrol stations and 50 hotels. The highly cash-generative and stable-tenanted operating model is supported by long-term government concessions and a significant fixed component, with revenues diversified across retail, restaurants, toilet facilities and fuel sales.

Requiring Fundamental Change: Traveller penetration, conversion rates and expenditure per km travelled were significantly below other European countries, offering room for Tank & Rast to better utilise the strength of its position on the Autobahn. Performance could be enhanced by allowing the most effective tenants to operate more sites.

Creating value 

  1. Transforming strategy

    • Tank Since acquisition in 2004, Tank & Rast has improved the visibility of its service stations and brands on the autobahn, gaining agreement from the federal and regional governments to introduce new signage on the motorway, something which previously had been banned. It also identified the potential for additional value in its fuel supply arrangements and successfully renegotiated a new tendering system for 30 per cent of its service stations.
    • The company has improved its food offering, including a better retail proposition. It introduced the premium Sanifair toilet facilities across its network with great success and which are now being rolled out to third parties in Germany and Europe. Tank & Rast also created a new motorway service station brand called Serways which incorporated the new retail and food offerings and improved the quality of its service and facilities.
  2. Strengthening management

    • Tank & Rast’s Finance team was significantly strengthened to support the incumbent CEO, Dr. Karl-H. Rolfes, who joined the business a few years before it was acquired by Terra Firma. In particular, a new CFO was hired and the Finance function bolstered.
  3. Developing through capital expenditure

    • In 2005, Tank & Rast launched a long-term €500 million investment programme to finance the  construction of new sites, the refurbishment of older sites and the introduction of capital expenditure-driven strategic and consumer-focused initiatives. Tank & Rast carefully managed relations with the government to develop the business, enabling it to introduce autobahn signage and implement Sanifair to the benefit of its customers. Tank & Rast has introduced an electronic point of sale (‘EPOS’) system to
      improve tenants’ working capital management and logistics processes which is being rolled out across the network. As at the end of 2014, the system has been installed in 298 sites.
  4. Building through mergers and acquisitions

    • Tank & Rast continues to grow by acquiring attractive sites and/or management contracts on and off the autobahn as they become available. In particular the business is focused on looking at opportunities to acquire off-autobahn sites (‘autohöfe’), with two new sites added in 2014.
  5. Lowering the cost of capital to create extra upside

    • As a result of the business’s strong performance in a challenging economic environment, it has been successfully refinanced. In December 2013, Tank & Rast completed a €2.1 billion refinancing, which lowered the cost of debt and introduced longer-dated facilities with staggered maturities, mitigating future refinancing risk. In 2014, Terra Firma took advantage of buoyant debt markets and repriced the term loan debt (€1.4 billion) thereby further lowering the cost of debt and cash interest payments.

Status of Investment: In August 2015, Terra Firma and Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management announced the sale of Tank & Rast to Allianz Capital Partners GmbH, Borealis Infrastructure Management Inc, Infinity Investments SA, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), and MEAG, Munich Re (Group)’s asset manager.


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