Itínere to issue shares to finance expansion
Toll-road operator unit of Spanish builder plans to expand, despite instability in the economy.8 April 2008
MADRID - Shrugging off the current volatility in the stock market, Itínere, the toll-road operator unit of Spanish builder Sacyr Vallehermoso, is planning to tap investors for additional funds to finance its expansion plans.
At its annual meeting yesterday, Itínere shareholders approved a share placement and public offer for this year. "The share sale will allow us to keep on expanding and to carry on competing in increasingly sophisticated international markets," said chief executive Francisco Javier Gracía.
"The sector is a safe haven in times of financial uncertainty such as at present," Gracía told reporters. He said Itínere was the most profitable concession holder in Europe, with a gross operating margin of 73.4 percent in 2007.
Analysts attribute value to the group's solidness and growth prospects, according to García. "We are confident the market will know how to adequately value the company," he said.
Of the EUR 600 million, EUR 200 million will go to reducing Itínere's debt with Sacyr. The public offer will amount to between EUR 1 and EUR 2.4 billion. The company said it can increase its debt to EUR 6 billion to fund investment.
Sacyr, which holds 90.1 percent of Itínere, plans to reduce its ownership but at least retain 50.1 percent of the company.
Itínere is the third-largest motorway concession group in the world.
[El Pais / Adrian Soto / Expatica]