Spain's ACS ups stake in Iberdrola

3rd January 2011, Comments 0 comments

Spain's leading construction company ACS has upped its stake Spanish energy giant Iberdrola from 15 percent to 20.2 percent, the country's stock market watchdog said Monday.

The move by ACS, led by Florentino Perez who is also chairman of Real Madrid football club, continues its strategy of diversifying into the energy sector in recent years.

ACS is also battling to take a controling stake in German rival Hochtief. Hours before the close of the offer last Wednesday, the group said it held 29.40 percent of Germany's largest public works group.

As of Monday it was unclear whether ACS had reached its target of 30 percent, which would allow it to buy additional shares of Hochtief on the stock market at its discretion.

The group's raised stake in Iberdrola is "a confirmation for our thesis that Hochtief is not a goal in itself but just the means to improve its own balance sheet and subsequently allow ACS to attack Iberdrola," Alexander Groschke, an investment analyst with LBBW, said in a research note.

He also noted that Perez has "always made clear that he wants to get a seat on the board and gain influence on the much larger company."

ACS's offer was formally opposed by Hochtief management on Wednesday, although chairman Herbert Luetkestratkoetter suggested talks with ACS "could begin shortly."

© 2011 AFP

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