Cintra: traffic decline slows

Traffic continues to decline across the Spanish toll road developer's portfolio of 23 toll roads but the pace of the decline slowed in the second and third quarters of this year.

Traffic on toll roads owned by Cintra is declining but the pace of the decline has slowed down, according to a third quarter market update published by the Spanish toll road developer.

Cintra, which manages 23 toll roads in Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Chile, Canada and the US, said traffic in the first nine months declined “in line with the economic slowdown in each country”. However, “the pace of decline on most toll roads slowed in the second and third quarters”, Cintra said, and certain roads, such as the Chicago Skyway, posted increases in traffic.

The company also said it earned €354.4 million in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the first nine months of the year. That’s 3.7 percent less than for the same period in 2008. But had it not been for some extraordinary provisions booked by some of its toll roads and exchange rate fluctuations, this year’s figures would show a .6 percent increase over last year, Cintra said.

The EBITDA was based on revenues of €493.3 million achieved over the same period, 1.1 percent less than for the first nine months of 2008.

Cintra also said it aims to finalise its merger with corporate parent Grupo Ferrovial by early December. The deal, approved at a special shareholders’ meeting last month, will see the company become a full subsidiary of the Spanish conglomerate, which also owns UK airport group BAA. 

The transaction, structured as a share swap, is opposed by a group of minority shareholders, including Australian asset manager CP 2. They have claimed that the deal would give them unwanted exposure to a more risky investment than Cintra.