LatAm shakeup for Abertis

Abertis has created a toll road unit in Chile as part of its latest company reorganization.

Abertis Infraestructuras is shaking up its chain of command in Latin America in a corporate restructuring the Barcelona, Spain-headquartered infrastructure developer said bolstered “the efficient integration of its business”.

The reshuffling of its senior management in the region signaled the latest “reorganization” for publicly traded Abertis: in March, the developer put its lucrative airport business on the market.

The executive realignment in Latin America put Abertis managing director David Diaz in charge of Arteris, its toll road business in Brazil. His appointment will push erstwhile Arteris chief executive Jose Carlos de Oliveira into the role of non-executive president.

In addition, Abertis has created a toll road business specific to Chile as well as a so-called ‘rest of the world’ (ROW) concessions branch.

Luis Miguel de Pablo will head the Chilean toll road arm, holding the title of managing director and reporting to Abertis chief executive Francisco Reynes.

Abertis said the new Chile unit will complement the existing Spain-dedicated toll road unit, as well as its second substantial operation in France.

Meanwhile, Abertis named Carlos del Rio managing director of the ROW business, which will encompass its toll road business in America, Argentina, Colombia, Puerto Rico and the UK, as well as its airports business.

Diaz, 43, is a trained economist who began working for Abertis in 2001. De Pablo, 60, had headed OHL (Obrascón Huarte Lain) Concessions in Chile before joining Abertis, while 63-year-old del Rio became head of its airport arm in 2007.

Abertis is in the process of a global expansion, with a long-term objective of gaining market-share in America and Mexico. The company became the largest toll road operator worldwide in 2012 with a $2.1 billion deal in Brazil.

Abertis, beginning with the appointment of Reynes as CEO in 2010, has begun narrowing its focus, selling its parking arm and putting more emphasis on expanding its toll road enterprise, which is 90 percent of its business.

The company hired Citigroup and AZ Capital to advise on the possible sale of its airport arm, estimated to be worth $1 billion.

Abertis is also endeavoring to reduce its exposure to Spain, where a deep economic recession coupled with joblessness has eaten into business and consumer travel.