Criteria, La Caixa’s investment arm, and Abertis’ largest shareholder with 21.55%, will take up the offer launched by ACS, Hochtief and Atlantia and will sell the whole of its stake in the Spanish concessionaire.
ACS bid for Abertis
So here is the final chapter in the story of the bid for Abertis: ACS and Atlantia have agreed to share management of the new company they will create to buy Abertis, in which they will each hold a 50% stake. Both companies want to keep the current management team. The chairman will be Spanish and Abertis’ HQ will be in Madrid.
Spain’s Stock Market Watchdog (CNMV) has finally given its green ligth to the bid from Hochtief, a subsidiary of ACS, for Abertis. The authorisation comes after the news of the talks between ACS and Atlantia aimed at reaching an agreement to put an end to the “bidding war”.
Atlantia and ACS could cease to be rivals in their bid for Abertis and become collaborators in the acquisition. The two companies acknowledged they had had initial talks, as a result of which they would jointly buy Abertis and share out its assets.
The consortium formed by ACS (with 24%), SNC Lavalin, Aecon, Pomerleau and EBC, has been chosen to design and build an automatic train (an underground train without a driver) for the metropolitan area in Montreal, Canada. The contract is worth 825 million euros.
Spain’s Competition Authorities will decide tomorrow whether it will authorise ACS’s bid for Abertis (Atlantia’s offer is already approved). There is also the question of what will happen to Hispasat, a strategic asset for Spain, in which Abertis holds 91%.
The effective launch of the bids for Abertis will be delayed 2-3 months if the CNMV revokes authorisation for Atlantia’s offer and it has to seek prior government approval.
ACS has launched a competing bid for Abertis, via Hochtief, at €18,76 per share. It fits in with our forecast scenario that ACS would offer a higher price than Atlantia (€16,50/share, combining cash and shares which cannot be sold before February 15 2019) in its counter-bid for the Spanish concessionaire.
ACS is still looking for the financial muscle to be able to make a counter-bid for Abertis. The company has the capacity to generate cash and has a solid financial situation, but it would need the help of foreign investors to better Atlantia’s bid of 16,5 euros per share.