Banco Sabadell | According to the press, ACS would be in talks with Atlantia over the possible acquisition of the stake they still do not own in Abertis. (Atlantia is ACS’ partner with a majority stake in Abertis; ACS has 40% net of minorities). In addition, the press reports mention that ACS chairman Florentino Pérez could leave his post in March 2022.
Valuation: This news is of limited impact to the extent that it does not come as a surprise. Atlantia and Abertis have always been in the pool of possible alternatives that ACS could have to implement its previously announced strategy of growing in the concessions business. That said, the news is not very concrete and, as of today, has not been confirmed. One of the difficulties which a potential operation aimed at raising ACS’ stake in Abertis is the need to consolidate the latter’s debt (about 25 billion euros). This would hike ACS’ debt to over 4xNFD/EBITDA.
We recall that on multiple occasions the company has commented on its intention to grow in the transport concessions business. For that purpose it has around 5 billion euros (more or less 80% of capitalisation) which it will likely soon receive from the sale of its Serv.Industriales division to Vinci (closure estimated for this month). In our view, the optionality provided by the above-mentioned 5 billion euros in a post-Covid scenario, should not a priori mean value destruction for the company in the short/medium-term. And it should limit the risk of dropping from these levels (-25% vs the IBEX for the year so far).