Abertis closes in on Italian toll roads

The Spanish toll road firm, which has been growing outside its home market, is looking to add the A4 and A31 to its portfolio.

Abertis, the Spanish developer, has signed an exclusivity agreement with regard to the possible acquisition of A4 Holding, an Italian industrial group.

The main assets owned by A4 Holding are the A4 (Brescia-Padova) and A31 (Vicenza-Piovene-Rocchette) toll roads in Italy.

The history of A4 Holding goes back to 1952, when motorway company Brescia Verona Vicenza Padova was set up as an alliance of public and economic bodies from the provinces of Milan, Bergamo, Brescia, Verona, Vicenza, Padua and Venice.

The company was formed to establish new infrastructure to link the pre-existing motorways of Milan-Brescia and Padua-Venice, thus linking the main towns in the Lombardy and Veneto regions.

The company subsequently diversified into real estate, telecommunications and transport and became known as Serenissima Group. A4 Holding was adopted as the new corporate name of Serenissima in January 2012.

The company holds 100% of the corporate stock of Autostrada Brescia Verona Vicenza Padova, the motorway concession holder of the A4 stretch from Brescia to Padua and A31 Valdastico.

In a statement, Abertis said the acquisition is subject to due diligence and that it foresees the completion of the deal by the end of this year.

Abertis is the world’s largest operator of toll roads, covering some 7,000 kilometres. Toll road activities account for 86 percent of the firm’s total revenues, while 14 percent comes from its telecommunications business.

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

Last month, Abertis’ Chilean subsidiary agreed to acquire the 50 percent stakes it did not already own in the Autopista del Sol and Autopista Los Libertadores toll road projects in Chile. The deal was valued at CLP93.53 billion (€127.4 million; $141.0 million).