Abertis boosted by increasing toll road traffic

The world’s largest toll road operator saw an overall traffic increase in the first quarter, with its home market of Spain a star performer.

Abertis, the Spanish developer, has reported traffic growth of 1.3 percent across its toll road network in the first quarter. The firm is the world’s largest owner of toll roads, covering 7,000 kilometres.

Notably, Abertis’ domestic Spanish market saw a 6.0 percent increase in traffic in the period, representing its largest increase since the pre-Crisis year of 2007. Other significant increases were seen in Chile (6.5 percent) and France (1.6 percent).

The traffic rise helped Abertis to an improvement “in all key indicators”, according to a statement from the firm, with net profits up 7.0 percent to €133 million, EBITDA up 6.4 percent to €729 million, and revenues up 6.0 percent to almost €1.2 billion.

Toll road activities accounted for 86 percent of total revenues, while 14 percent came from the firm’s telecommunications business. Abertis’ largest deal in the period was its €693 million acquisition of Galata from Italian telecom company Wind. The deal saw 7,377 mobile telephony towers transferred to Abertis-owned Cellnex Telecom.

One of Abertis’ main priorities has been the internationalisation of its business. In the first quarter, 65 percent of revenues were generated outside Spain with Brazil and France key contributors.

In April this year, Abertis completed the disposal of its airports business with the €177 million sale of its stake in Desarrollo de Concesiones Aeroportuarias (DCA). DCA owns a 74.5 percent stake in MBJ, concessionary of Montego Bay Airport in Jamaica, and a 14.77 percent stake in SCL, operator of Santiago de Chile Airport.