Canadian investment firm Guardian Smart Infrastructure Management (GSIM) has acquired a controlling interest in Norwegian toll technology company Q-Free.
The transaction, which was completed on 03 October, involves another entity, called Juniper Holdco, acquiring existing shareholder Rieber & Søn’s 62.8% stake in Q-Free for US$1.13 (NOK 12) per share.
Juniper is 70% owned by GSIM – a subsidiary of Guardian Capital Group (GCP) – and 30% owned by Rieber, a Bergen-based investment firm.
GSIM said it is “focused on investing in the growing number of opportunities and projects designed to enhance the productivity of new and existing global infrastructure assets by integrating technological innovations”.
Juniper will make the same offer of NOK 12 per share to remaining shareholders – a deal the Q-Free board recommends.
An initial US$100m was provided for the transaction and for “proposed follow-on investments” by GCP and the GSIM management team.
GSIM president Robert Mah said the money will be put into Q-Free “in an effort to continue its strong record of growth and leading by innovation”.
“Q-Free is highly regarded, particularly for its edge technology solutions, in the rapidly growing market for intelligent transportation services designed to ease congestion, reduce pollution, and improve the quality of life for commuters, professional drivers and fleet operators,” he added.
According to GCP, Mah and his investment partners have put US$11bn into 37 infrastructure transactions, “many of which are relevant to Q-Free and its customers in traffic management, toll roads and ports/intermodal”.
Rieber MD Fritz Rieber added that GCP has “the potential to significantly contribute to the company’s growth, both financially and through its network, particularly in North America”.
Following confirmation of the acquisition, Q-Free announced that Thale Kuvås Solberg had resigned as president and CEO of the company with immediate effect.
According to Q-Free, Solberg’s resignation follows the changes in ownership and upcoming compulsory bid of the company that likely might result in the company being de-listed and entering a new phase under a different ownership structure.
Q-Free CFO Trond Christensen has been appointed as interim president and CEO until further notice.
You can learn more about the key trends and challenges affecting senior decision-makers who have responsibility for tolling, intelligent transportation systems and road pricing across the world at the 21st annual Road User Charging Conference in Brussels, Belgium on 05-06 March 2024. Click here for more information.