LatAm expansion boosts Abertis results

New concessions in Brazil and Chile contributed €721m to revenues in the first three quarters, allowing the group to generate 61% of its business outside Spain.

Abertis’ internationalisation drive is gathering pace, interim results released today suggest.

The Spanish developer saw new concessions in Brazil and Chile contribute €721 million in revenues during the first nine months of the year, allowing it to generate 61 percent of its income and 56 percent of its EBITDA outside Spain.

“These businesses expand the group’s international footprint and significantly reduce its exposure to markets more exposed to the crisis such as Spain and France,” it said in a statement.

This boosted overall revenue by 28 percent year-on-year to €3.5 billion, primarily accounted for by the group’s toll road business (90 percent) and telecommunications unit (10 percent).

Net profit stood at €536 million for the period, a fall from the €1 billion windfall recorded during the first nine months of 2012. But that was mainly a reflection of capital gains realised last year through the sale of 25 percent of French satellite provider Eutelsat. Stripped out of extraordinary events, recurrent net profit actually amounted to €488 million – a 7 percent gain.

The company intends to pay a gross interim dividend of €0.33 per share on 6 November.

Another notable development was the continued improvement of the group’s debt structure, with net debt decreasing nearly €1.2 billion, to €12.9 billion. Such deleveraging was mainly achieved through divestments of airport assets from the TBI subsidiary in Europe and the US, totalling €359 million, as well as the sale of London Luton Airport to an Aena- and AXA Private Equity-led consortium for €502 million.

Abertis’ debt reduction efforts received an accolade last August when rating agency Fitch granted the group a long-term rating of BBB+. More than 90 percent of Abertis’ debt is now long term, with an average maturity of 5.7 years.

The period also saw Abertis carry out significant transactions, such as the acquisition of control stake in telecom business Hispasat and the purchase of 4,227 telephony towers from Spanish operators Telefónica and Yoigo. Both operations are still pending approval by regulatory authorities.