Expatica news

Spain’s ACS launches counter-bid for Abertis

Spanish construction group ACS said Wednesday it was launching a bid for toll-road concessions company Abertis to compete against an offer by Italy’s Atlantia that would create the world’s biggest toll-road operator.

ACS, through its German subsidiary Hochtief, will offer 18.76 euros per Abertis share, compared to 16.50 euros proposed in May by Atlantia, ACS said in a regulatory filing.

The bid values Abertis at 18.6 billion euros ($21.9 billion), compared to 16.3 billion euros in the case of the of the offer from Atlantia, an infrastructure group controlled by the Benetton family.

“The proposed transaction will be highly beneficial for both companies and all their stakeholders,” ACS number two and the chairman of Hochtief, Marcelino Fernandez Verdes, said in a separate statement.

Spain’s stock market regulator on October 9 gave the green light to Rome-based Atlantia’s bid for Abertis.

A tie-up of the two firms would create the world’s biggest toll-road operator with over 14,000 kilometres (8,700 miles) managed worldwide.

An attempted merger in 2006 between Altantia and Abertis fell apart because of Italian government opposition.

ACS, whose chairman Florentino Perez also heads Real Madrid soccer club, had said in July that the company was studying making a counter offer for Abertis.

Unlike Atlantia, which is based heavily in home market Italy, ACS generates just 13 percent of its revenues in Spain.

In addition to managing toll-roads around the world, ACS has built bridges, metros, airports and skyscrapers in cities around the world, including New York, London, Dubai and Hong Kong.

Abertis calls itself the world’s largest toll-road operator, with more than 8,600 kilometres managed in 14 countries in europe, Asia and the Americas.

It is also the majority owner of Spanish satellite business Hispasat, which manages and operates satellite infrastructure. Abertis employs some 15,000 people.

Shares in ACS closed up 5.17 percent at 33.06 euros while Abertis shares jumped 7.02 percent to 18.84 euros.

By comparison Spain’s benchmark Ibex-35 most traded share index closed up 0.55 percent.