Actividades de Construccion y Servicios (ACS), the Spanish developer, has agreed the sale of its ports services business, Dragados Servicios Portuarios y Logisticos (Dragados SPL) to an investment group headed by JPMorgan Asset Management, according to a regulatory filing. JPMorgan is paying €720 million for the business.
Dragados SPL is a ports services business made up of more than 120 subsidiaries specialising in operations relating to port and logistic services. The firm owns several ports including Bilbao, Malaga and Las Palmas. It is understood that Valencia port, which delivered revenues of more than €114 million in 2008, was seen as a key element of the portfolio.
The announcement of the deal brings to an end a long period of negotiation in which JPMorgan was understood to be seeking around €200 million from banks to support the deal – much of this amount would reportedly have gone towards the recapitalisation of Valencia port. Media reports indicated that obtaining this finance was difficult due to fears over world trade and cargo overcapacity in Spain.
ACS has been exploring ways of reducing its debt pile and increasing its core stake in Spanish utility Iberdrola. The firm is a 22.8 percent shareholder in Abertis, the Spanish infrastructure group, which has been in talks regarding a possible realignment of its shareholder base. ACS has been tipped to reduce its shareholding – either as part of a buyout of Abertis led by European private equity firm CVC Capital Partners or through a straight stake sale to CVC.