Sacyr agrees to sell stake

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Legal issues remain in way of completion of deal between Spain's Sacyr and Eiffage.

10 April 2008
MADRID - Spanish construction companies Sacyr Vallehermoso and France's Eiffage have ended a year-long dispute after Sacyr agreed to sell its 33.3-percent stake in the French builder.

In a statement filed late Tuesday with the Spanish National Securities Commission (CNMV), Sacyr said it had agreed to sell its holding in Eiffage to group of French institutional investors for EUR 1.95 billion. The sale price was at EUR 63 per share, compared with the EUR 62 paid by Sacyr to acquire its stake.

The sale has the blessing of the Eiffage management, which has agreed to withdraw a lawsuit against the Spanish company. However, hours before Sacyr's statement to the CNMV, a Paris court ordered Sacyr's holding in Eiffage to be frozen.

Stock down

Concerns over when the sale of Sacyr's stake would be completed because of the legal issues still involved helped explain the sharp fall in the Spanish builder's share price yesterday. The stock closed down 3.90 percent at EUR 21.70, and was the second-biggest faller in the blue-chip Ibex 35.

The deal on the sale of Sacyr's stake came just a week after the Spanish builder avoided having to make a cash takeover offer for Eiffage after the Paris Appeals Court overruled an order for it to do so by the French stock market regulator.

However, the court said the Autorité des Marchés Financiers was correct in ruling a cash-and-share bid for Eiffage by Sacyr was invalid because of the existence of collusion between Sacyr and other Eiffage shareholders.

Sacyr launched its offer for Eiffage in April of last year after being denied representation on Eiffage's board.

The management of the French builder claimed Sacyr was acting in concert with other Spanish stockholders, and cancelled the voting rights of the latter at a shareholders meeting to decide on the composition of Eiffage's board.

[El Pais / Miguel Ángel Noceda / Adrian Soto / Expatica]

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