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Abertis takes full control of Sanef with final €238m buy

The Spanish firm has invested over €2.2bn in its French subsidiary since January as talks continue over a possible merger with Atlantia.

Abertis has reached a 100 percent ownership in French toll road operator Sanef, some 11 years after its initial investment.

The Spanish company paid the French insurance firm CNP €238 million for the remaining 5.1 percent stake it did not own in Holding d’Infraestructures de Transport, the parent company of Sanef. It now has full control of Sanef’s 2,063km toll road network, the fourth largest in Europe.

The latest acquisition closes a series of deals by Abertis in Sanef as it sought to consolidate its presence in the company. It paid FFP Invest €238 million for another 5.1 percent stake last week, following an €800 million deal with Crédit Agricole’s insurance subsidiary Predica and a €446 million transaction with AXA last month.

Abertis has invested in total €2.2 billion since January to increase its presence in the company. It had previously held a 52 percent share in the consortium that paid the French government €4 billion for the firm in 2006. Earlier this month, Abertis hailed France’s “clear commitment to public-private partnerships” and identified the country as offering significant opportunities for the company’s potential growth.

The move comes as Abertis continued talks with Atlantia after it emerged last week the pair had begun exploring a possible merger. However, Abertis’ chief financial officer, José Aljaro, reiterated yesterday that no concrete proposal had been received from Atlantia nor has any possible valuation been set.