Spain’s ACS and Italy’s Atlantia have decided to stop competing for Abertis and have instead teamed up to acquire the toll road operator in a deal worth just north of €18 billion.
The deal will see Hochtief, ACS’ German arm, go ahead with its €18.36 per share cash offer for Abertis – already approved on 12 March by Spanish watchdog CNMV – and Atlantia drop its competing bid, which was lower than Hocthief’s.
The two former rivals will then create a €7 billion co-holding company that will give Atlantia 50 percent of Abertis plus one share, with ACS owning 30 percent of the firm and Hocthief owning the remaining 20 percent, minus one share.
The third part of the transaction will see Hochtief increase its share capital by 6.43 million shares at €146.42 per share. Parent ACS will fully subscribe to the capital increase, but will then sell on €2.5 billion worth of Hochtief shares to Atlantia, giving the Italian developer close to 25 percent of Hochtief.
Finally, all the parties involved plan to enter into a long-term agreement to cooperate on future PPPs, including both greenfield and brownfield projects.
If approved, the takeover will allow ACS and Atlantia to take over one of the world’s largest toll road operators, managing 8,650km of roads and highways across 15 countries in Europe, the Americas and Asia. Abertis is currently the number one toll road operator in Spain, Chile and Brazil, with more than 70 percent of its revenues coming from outside of Spain, particularly from France, Brazil and Chile.
On Tuesday, Abertis agreed to divest its 57 percent holding in satellite operating unit Hipsasat for over €650 million to Spanish power firm Red Electrica Corporacion. Hipsasat, which Spain considers a strategic asset, had emerged as a sensitive issue during the sale process and was seen as one of the reasons why the Spanish government favoured a domestic buyer for Abertis.