FCC sells Czech water stake to Mitsui

As part of its plan to whittle down group debt, the Spanish infrastructure firm has agreed a €97m deal.

FCC, the Spanish infrastructure and environmental services firm, has agreed to sell 49 percent of Czech Republic water company SmVak to Japanese conglomerate Mitsui for €97 million.

SmVak is the fourth-largest water company in the Czech Republic and the largest operator in the north-east region of Moravia-Silesia.

With 1.3 million users and a 6,000-kilometre supply network, the company has a concession for the production and distribution of drinking water, discharge and treatment of wastewater, and bulk water supply (including operation and maintenance, capital investment and billing and collection).

Last year, SmVak posted revenues of around €108 million and EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) of more than €42 million.

The sale is part of FCC’s strategic plan that was implemented when infrastructure veteran Juan Bejar was appointed chief executive in March this year. In response to the declining value of the company since the global financial crisis, Bejar announced that a divestment programme would be deployed to bring down the firm’s debt by €2.2 billion.

Since the plan was announced – and prior to the latest sale announcement – FCC had already agreed to sell 50 percent of Latin American water company Proactiva to Veolia for €150 million; a 39 percent stake in South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland for €23 million; a 25 percent interest in Hotel Vela in Barcelona; and its stake in the Autopista del Valle road concession in Costa Rica for €13 million.

Mitsui has been steadily building up its water activities over the years, including taking a stake in the UK’s Thames Water in 1995. It has also acquired water operations in Turkey, China, Thailand and Mexico.