Abertis sells parking, logistics units for €400m

Investment firms Torreal, ProA Capital and Criteria will become the major shareholders in Saba Infraestructuras, a holding company set up to incorporate Abertis’ car parking and logistics businesses.

Spanish infrastructure developer Abertis is divesting its car parking and logistics businesses to a consortium of Spanish investors for a total of €400 million in equity, the company announced.

The deal, to be ratified during Abertis’ June 21 annual shareholders meeting, will see the developer transfer its car parks and logistics units to a new, unlisted company called Saba Infrasestructuras through a capital increase of €400 million, or €0.54 per share. 

The capital increase will fund the majority of an extraordinary dividend of €0.67 per share against this year’s results. Existing shareholders can receive the dividend either in cash or shares in Saba – at the ratio of one Saba share per each Abertis share – plus a €0.13 per share cash payout. La Caixa, Abertis’ biggest shareholder with 29 percent of its capital, has already said it will take Saba shares through Criteria, its investment arm. 

Private equity firm CVC Capital Partners, which owns 15.5 percent of Abertis, and Spanish infrastructure group ACS, which holds 10.3 percent of the Catalan firm, are expected to take all-cash payment, allowing Torreal and ProA Capital to buy their Saba shares at the above-mentioned €0.54 per share. It is currently unknown how Abertis’ minority shareholders will choose to receive the extraordinary dividend.

Non-core asset sales at Abertis have been rumoured ever since CVC acquired a 15.55 percent stake in the Spanish developer last year from main shareholder ACS for €1.7 billion. This was prompted, in part, by the short duration of the loan taken out to fund the deal.

“To take out a loan with a duration as short as one year is unusual and to us suggests that an extraordinary dividend could be planned, probably funded from asset sales,” Robert Crimes, an analyst with Credit Suisse, wrote in a research note last year. 

Abertis recently concluded the sale of its 6.68 percent stake in Italian toll road operator Atlantia for €626 million. Abertis’ 14.6 percent stake in Portuguese toll road operator Brisa is also seen as a target for divestment.