‘Time is right for new investors in Global Via’, Bejar says

Global Via’s chief executive is targeting pensions and sovereign wealth funds as new shareholders for the Spanish developer. Macquarie and JP Morgan are advising the firm on a capital increase of some €500m, which could be completed in the first half of 2011.

Juan Bejar, the chief executive of Spanish developer Global Via, told reporters in London today that he believes liquidity is returning to the markets for both debt and equity, highlighting that the time is right to add other shareholders to Global Via’s capital base.
 

Bejar: time is
right for new
shareholders

Bejar had previously told Infrastructure Investor that he was holding discussions with several interested parties but had declined to elaborate more on the issue. Today he was more forthcoming, saying that his company has been in talks with pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, and other financial institutions (such as banks and insurance companies), to find new shareholders for Global Via.
 
He also said that Global Via was open to having more than one new shareholder enter into its capital base, and that a capital increase could target around €500 million. While stressing that conversations are still at a preliminary stage, Bejar pointed out that Global Via may be ready to make an announcement during the first quarter of 2011. Macquarie and JP Morgan are advising the Spanish developer on the capital increase.
 
A public listing of the company is also planned for the future, but Bejar said it is still early days, adding that a listing will only take place once the capital markets improve. He also expects FCC and Caja Madrid – Global Via's joint owners – to remain the company's largest shareholders following a capital increase.
 
The chief executive argued that the lack of financing is easing, pointing to a number of recent transactions – including Ferrovial’s sale of a minority stake in Canada’s 407 ETR toll road and CVC Capital Partners' purchase of a 15 percent stake in Abertis – as supporting evidence.
 
He also said that mature infrastructure has proven remarkably resilient to the Crisis, and has continued to generate yields for investors throughout the storm. Importantly, Bejar was confident that utilisation of infrastructure is going to catch up with – and eventually surpass – gross domestic product growth (GDP), as it has done historically.
 
“If you look at the toll roads sector, you will find that in times of crisis, traffic has dipped below GDP decreases. However, once GDP recovery starts, traffic actually starts to grow faster than GDP growth. This is what we expect will happen in the next couple of years. In fact, it’s already happening in some places and sectors, such as with British airports,” he explained.
 
Bejar is also finding tentative signs of a return to underwriting “for selected credits”, pointing out that for some recent deals, mostly in the energy space, banks have underwritten cheques of some €500 million. He had previously told Infrastructure Investor that “if the syndications market continues to be closed, as it is today, it [will be] impossible for us to see a big number of large projects coming to fruition”.
 
Gloval Via owns over 40 infrastructure projects, including roads, rail, ports, airports and hospitals, worth over €3 billion. It posted turnover in 2009 in excess of €163 million and recorded earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of €74 million last year.