EU approves ACS takeover of Hochtief

14th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

The European Commission, the guardian of competition in Europe, on Friday approved the purchase of Germany's Hochtief by its Spanish rival ACS, which will create Europe's biggest construction company.

"The Commission's competition investigation showed that the activities of Hochtief and ACS are largely complementary in that the firms essentially operate in different countries," it said in a statement.

Spain's biggest public works group reached a key milestone last week in its bitterly fought battle to swallow up Hochtief by surpassing a 30 percent stake.

Under German law it can then increase its holding up to 50 percent without making public announcements, opening the way for it to take a majority stake and become the third largest public works group worldwide.

ACS's global prospects and debt-laden balance sheet -- it had 9.08 billion euros ($13.3 billion) in net debt on September 30 last year -- would be strengthened by the acquisition of the financially more robust Hochtief.

© 2011 AFP

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