Jose De Mello, Arcus take over 85% of Brisa

Brisa’s main shareholders now control the majority of the company. But their IPO failed to net them the 90% needed to de-list the toll road operator from the Lisbon Stock Exchange.

Brisa’s main shareholders – Portuguese conglomerate Jose de Mello and fund manager Arcus Infrastructure Partners (Arcus) – now own just under 85 percent of the Portuguese toll road operator, the partners announced in a filing to the Portuguese watchdog.

The initial public offer (IPO), concluded late last week, gave the two shareholders close to full ownership of the company, after Spanish toll road operator Abertis decided to accept the partners’ takeover offer of €2.76 per share and offload its 15.02 percent stake in Brisa for some €312 million.

But Jose de Mello and Arcus failed to acquire the 90 percent of Brisa they would need to de-list the company from the Lisbon Stock Exchange. 

Brisa’s share price – like many other Portuguese stocks following the crisis – has taken a beating, decreasing sharply from a high of just over €10 per share in 2007. Its market capitalisation in July amounted to €1.59 billion.

The IPO represented something of a victory for Portugal’s Jose de Mello – whose chief executive, Vasco de Mello, also heads Brisa – over Spain’s Abertis. The two companies had an antagonistic relationship, especially after Jose de Mello thwarted a Brisa/Abertis merger in 2007.

After Jose de Mello and Arcus teamed up to take over Brisa, Abertis, seeing itself confined to a minority shareholder role in the company with little chance to influence its fortunes, decided to throw in the towel, explaining that in only invests “in those projects in which it can assume an industrial role”.

Abertis has recently joined forces with Brookfield to buy at least 60 percent of toll road operator OHL Brazil – a deal which, if successful, will turn the Spanish company into the world’s largest toll road operator.