Puerto Rico extends Abertis toll concession

A subsidiary of the Spanish developer is set to pay $115m to secure a higher return from toll revenues and a 10-year extension to its existing contract.

Abertis subsidiary Metropistas has signed an agreement with the Puerto Rico Highways & Transportation Authority to extend its concession contract for the PR-5 and PR-22 toll roads by 10 years. 

The concessionaire agreed to pay the PRHTA $115 million through two payments of $100 million and $15 million, with the second payment set to be disbursed once a new bi-directional payment system is in place. The latter should occur no later than 30 June 2017, according to an Abertis statement. 

In exchange for the payments, PRHTA has agreed to lower its share of toll revenues to 25 percent from the current rate of 50 percent and to extend the Metropistas concession to 2061. 

Metropistas won the right to develop PR-22 and PR-5 in 2011 with an initial payment of $1.08 billion. The pair of toll roads posted average daily traffic of 67,224 vehicles through 2015. PR-22 is an 83km stretch known as the Jose de Diego toll road, and is the busiest toll road in Puerto Rico. PR-5 is a 4km extension to PR-22 that opened in 2006, providing connection to PR-6 and PR-2. 

In 2014, Abertis arranged for a similar six-month extension to its Autovias concession in Brazil for BRL 91 million ($26 million; €23 million). The company is seeking to negotiate longer contracts for assets in Argentina and Chile as well.  

The deal is expected to be finalised in the coming weeks.