CVC joins Abertis’ board of directors

The private equity firm has got three members appointed to Abertis’ board of directors: Javier de Jaime, Santiago Ramirez and Jose Antonio Torre de Silva. CVC bought a 15.55% stake in the Catalan firm in August from shareholder ACS for €1.7bn.

CVC Capital Partners, the European private equity firm, now holds three seats on the board of directors of Spanish developer Abertis, the latter announced in a regulatory filing.
 
Javier de Jaime, a managing partner at CVC responsible for CVC Spain; Santiago Ramirez, industrial partner at CVC; and Jose Antonio Torre de Silva, a managing director of CVC in Spain, are the newest members of Abertis’ board of directors. Javier de Jaime and Jose Antonio Torre de Silva will also join Abertis’ executive committee, the Catalan firm said.
 
Abertis shareholder ACS recently sold 15.55 percent of its 25.86 percent stake in Abertis to CVC for €1.7 billion, keeping the remaining 10.28 percent. 
 

Abertis: new members on
board

The transaction split ACS’ original stake between two holding vehicles, with CVC obtaining 60 percent of the voting rights over the two stakes (the 10.28 percent it didn’t acquire, as well as the 15.55 percent it did). CVC is now Abertis second-largest shareholder by voting rights following savings bank La Caixa, which owns 28.5 percent of Abertis’ stock.
 
It is still unclear what plans CVC has for Abertis but rumours continue to swirl that its main shareholders may soon embark on a policy of divesting some of the developer’s non-core assets. Some of the proceeds from these sales may be used to repay some of the debt ACS and CVC borrowed to fund the transaction.
 
“To take out a loan with a duration as short as one year is unusual and to us suggests that an extraordinary dividend could be planned, probably funded from asset sales,” Robert Crimes, an analyst with Credit Suisse, wrote in a research note.
 
The two deal partners borrowed €1.5 billion from four banks to finance the deal. That amount breaks down into a three-year, €1.25 billion facility and the one-year, €250 million tranche Crimes refers to in his note. Market speculation suggests Abertis’ minority stakes in road operators Atlantia and Brisa are the prime candidates for divestment, which could generate a special dividend of about €1 billion.
 
Other non-core assets potentially up for sale include Abertis’ airports and telecommunications businesses. The Spanish developer derives more than 70 percent of its revenue from its toll road operations, spread across Spain, France and Latin America.