Abertis gains control of Puerto Rico’s Metropistas

The Spanish developer has paid $43.6m to Goldman Sachs funds for an additional stake in the toll road operator.

Abertis has acquired an additional 6 percent of Autopistas Metropolitanas de Puerto Rico (Metropistas) from GS Global Infrastructure Partners II and GS International Infrastructure Partners II, two funds managed by Goldman Sachs.

The Barcelona-based developer will pay $43.6 million for the stake. The transaction brings its holding in the business to 51 percent, thereby enabling it to become a majority shareholder in the company.

Metropistas is the concessionaire for Puerto Rico’s PR-22 and PR-5 toll roads. The 83-kilometre PR-22 connects San Juan, Puerto Rico's capital, with the city of Arecibo and is the country’s busiest toll road. The PR-5 is a four-kilometre extension of the PR-22 running through the San Juan metropolitan area.

Abertis was awarded the tender to run the roads in 2011 for 40 years alongside Goldman Sachs, in a deal valued at almost $1.1 billion. Metropistas, which will now be fully consolidated in Abertis’ accounts, is expected to contribute €85 million in revenue and €50 million in EBITDA this year.

The transaction comes amid a strategic shift at Abertis, which has strived to refocus its business on toll roads and telecoms over the last few years. The company generated around €4 billion in cash via non-core asset disposals since 2012, with sales including motorway operators Atlantia and Brisa, French satellite provider Eutelsat, and Abertis’ Car Parks, Logistics and Airports units.

The proceeds have since been reinjected in around €3.8 billion worth of new investments, comprising several projects in Brazil, Puerto Rico and Chile, the purchase of Spanish satellite business Hispasat, and a vast number of mobile phone towers.

Abertis expects to deploy more than €2 billion for new projects by 2016. It says the figure could reach €4 billion should it co-invest in new ventures alongside external partners.