Atlantia bets big on Brazil with new JV

The Italian toll road operator has teamed up with Brazil’s Bertin Group to form a new joint venture managing more than 1,500km of motorways. In addition, the partners are already eyeing a further 522km to grow their joint motorway portfolio.

Atlantia, Italy’s premier toll road operator, has partnered with Brazilian infrastructure developer the Bertin Group to create a motorway powerhouse managing 1,538 kilometres of highways, mostly in the São Paulo area.

“Brazil has a key role to play in Atlantia’s growth strategy in Latin America,” Giovanni Castellucci, Atlantia’s chief executive, said in a statement. “The country offers enormous growth potential thanks to major infrastructure development projects over the short and medium term and its long-term growth prospects,” Castellucci added.

The new joint venture will initially have full ownership of three highways: Triangulo do Sol, a 442-kilometre highway in the state of São Paulo; Colinas, a 307-kilometre motorway, also in São Paulo; and Nascentes das Gerais, a 372-kilometre highway in the state of Minas Gerais. The first asset was previously owned by Atlantia – which is also investing €103 million into the joint venture – with the other two roads originally belonging to the Bertin Group.

The three concessions – which will respectively expire in 2021, 2028 and 2032 – are expected to generate some €354 million of revenue this year, with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) set to reach €275 million. 

However, the two partners are already eyeing further acquisitions. In its statement, Atlantia said the joint venture has the option to acquire 95 percent of São Paulo’s Rodoanel, a 105-kilometre tolled ring road, still partially under construction, described by Atlantia as “one of Brazil’s most important motorway assets”. The Rodoanel concession is currently owned by the Bertin Group.

If Rodoanel is added to the joint venture in 2015, Atlantia says it would boost the vehicle’s EBITDA to €500 million.

Separately, the partners are also considering forming a second holding company to buy a stake in the concession for a 417-kilometre motorway in São Paulo known as Tiete – 50 percent of which is currently owned by the Bertin Group with the remainder in the hands of Portuguese developer Mota Engil. Atlantia said it would pay €28 million to acquire joint ownership of the Bertin Group’s stake in Tiete.