Concessions head quits as ACS nears 40% of Hochtief

Peter Noé, head of Hochtief Concessions, has tendered his resignation just as ACS announced that it now holds 37.6% of Hochtief. Once it crossed the 30% treshold, ACS knew it was free to acquire majority ownership of Hochtief on the open market, without having to pay a control premium.

Peter Noé, a member of Hochtief’s executive board and head of its concessions and Asia units, has resigned as a result of Spanish firm ACS’ ongoing takeover of the German firm. He will be stepping down from his role on September 10.

“Peter Noé (53) has made use of his extraordinary termination right in connection with the crossing of the 30 percent shareholding threshold by ACS,” Hochtief said in a statement.

The resignation comes shortly after ACS announced in its annual results that it now holds 37.6 percent of Hochtief, up from the 33.49 percent it held after its takeover offer expired in early February. That puts ACS about 13.4 percent short of acquiring majority ownership of Hochtief.

Peter Noé

The Spanish group has always said that its goal is to increase its shareholding in Hochtief to just above 50 percent, allowing for full financial consolidation of the company and helping it to cut debt. Majority ownership will also allow the company to increase its geographical exposure, moving away from the troubled Spanish market, from which it derives the majority of its sales.

ACS’ takeover strategy consisted of acquiring just enough shares to amass more than 30 percent of Hochtief. Under German law, companies are required to make a compulsory takeover bid once they reach the 30 percent threshold. ACS pre-empted this by launching a voluntary offer for Hochtief just as its shareholding was closing in on the 30 percent mark.

Once it crossed 30 percent, ACS knew it was free to acquire majority ownership of Hochtief on the open market, without having to pay a premium for control. Hochtief’s management did its best to fend off ACS but was ultimately unsuccessful.