ACS Studies A Takeover Bid For Atlantia

ACS CIMICFlorentino Pérez, chairman of ACS, on the right

ACS is considering launching an offer to acquire the Italian concessionaire Atlantia, the Spanish company’s partner in Abertis, according to Bloomberg on Wednesday and confirmed late in the afternoon by the Spanish construction company. The group headed by Florentino Pérez has already hired advisors to analyse this operation in which it is considering taking over the Italian company’s motorways jointly with GIP and Brookfield.

Atlantia’s capitalisation is close to 15.690 billion euros. The Spanish company is counting on the more than 4.9 billion euros it earned at the end of 2021 from the sale of its Industrial Services division to France’s Vinci. The purchase of Atlantia, the details of which have not been disclosed, would mean ACS becoming the largest infrastructure group in the world. However, to do so, it would have to assume Atlantia’s net debt, which exceeds 30 billion euros.

Atlantia has 48 concessions in 11 countries, including Italy, France and Chile. The concessionaire reported revenues of 6.4 billion euros in 2021 and a gross operating profit (ebitda) of 4 billion -Abertis contributed most of this, 3.351 billion-. ACS, for its part, earned 27.837 billion euros, with an ebitda of 1.598 billion euros and net cash, after the sale of Cobra to Vinci, of 2.009 billion euros.

The eventual acquisition of Atlantia will presumably have to count on the Benetton family, which controls 33.1% of the company through Edizione. The second largest shareholder is the Singapore fund GIC, with 8.29%, ahead of HSBC, with 5.01%, and Fondazione Cassa Di Risparmio di Torino, with 4.54%. In addition, the transaction will also require authorisations from the Italian government, as Atlantia is the largest motorway operator in Italy. It is worth remembering that 15 years ago, the Spanish Abertis already tried to acquire Autrostrade-Atlantia, but the government then led by Romano Prodi torpedoed the operation.

After the first of the information was disclosed, Atlantia’s shares rose to 6.7% in Wednesday’s session -they finally closed with a rise of 2.45%, at 19 euros-. Meanwhile, ACS shares fell 3.81% to 23.46 euros.

ACS and Atlantia joined paths in 2019, when they sealed a takeover bid for Spanish concessionaire Abertis, valued at more than 18.3 billion euros. The deal saw Atlantia take 50% plus one share, with ACS holding 30% and its German subsidiary Hochtief 20% minus one share. Abertis contributed 83.7% of Atlantia’s gross operating profit (ebitda) in 2021. The two giants are also partners in the German construction company, with ACS holding 50.4% of the capital and Atlantia 15.9%.

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