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Abertis agrees €125m Italian deal ahead of Atlantia talks

The group now controls 85% of A4 Holding following its €594m swoop on 51% of the company in September last year.

Spanish toll road developer Abertis has bought a further 22.5 percent of Italian subsidiary A4 Holding in a deal worth €125 million.

The investment means Abertis now owns 85 percent of the company which operates the 146km A4 toll road and the 89km A31 highway. Both are located in the northern Italian region of Veneto.

The deal follows up on the company’s €594 million acquisition of A4 Holding in September last year, one of its first investments in Italy since its abortive merger with Atlantia in 2006. Abertis’ latest €125 million swoop represents a 10 percent discount on the fee paid in September.

“The deal demonstrates the ability of Abertis to grow internationally on attractive terms while maintaining its financial discipline,” the firm said. “It is also a reinforcement of its active portfolio management strategy, which allows it to invest in assets it knows well and where it faces no competition, reducing its operational risk profile.”

The competition could be reduced even further as talks continue over Atlantia’s attempts to merge with Abertis. The Italian firm last week confirmed it remains in negotiations, although it said no deal or price has been agreed. Reuters reported yesterday that the chief executives of the respective companies are set to meet this week, with a deal potentially agreed by the end of the month.

The consolidation of Abertis’ ownership mirrors its recent incremental investments in French toll road operator Sanef, in which it finally secured a 100 percent ownership last week after investing over €2.2 billion in several goes since January.