Abertis confident of closing purchase of 25% stake in Hispasat

Iñaki Ferreras | 05-11-2012

Abertis says it remains confident that it will close the purchase of 25% of the Spanish Hispasat satellite company currently in the hands of the Government following the announcement of elections in Catalonia.

Speaking to the newspaper Expansion, Abertis president Salvador Alemany said "We hope to close the acquisition, although it is a slow process." On the impact of policy decisions in business, he added: "I do not believe at all that has any influence or effect; the operation does not have any political mark." The acquisition of 25% of Hispasat, worth about €250 million, the group would become the controlling shareholder of the company.

The president has ruled out entering into the debate on the independence of Catalonia and recalled that "Abertis is a diversified company, with over 50% of its development outside Spain."

Upon purchase of the assets of OHL in Brazil, Alemany suggested that this is a "long-term investment" and maintains an optimistic view of the potential of the Latin American country. "Although there might be a slight inflection in growth this year and it is expected to grow by less than 2% in 2013, the forecast is an increase of more than 3%, so we maintain our confidence in Brazil," he explained.

The operation will make Abertis world leader in the highways business, adding 3,226km in Brazil, which will generate 23% of revenue, up to a total of 7,000km. According to Alemany: "Closing the deal will occur between late November and early December." The president has placed special emphasis on the two aspects of the operation: "On one hand, the integration of assets with a long-term maturity greater than ours, and secondly the integration of OHL into Abertis, to become the third largest shareholder, with 15% of the capital."

With this purchase, which will boost turnover to €800 million in 2013, Abertis will ally with Brookfield fund from Canada. In this regard, Alemany has admitted that "the takeover bid for 100% of the Latin American subsidiary of OHL is granted, but should not create any problems because we have fully covered the financing system and this could be done in the first quarter of next year if not before". In the medium term, the strategic plan involves the consolidation of Abertis. However, the president stressed that it is open to new opportunities, mainly in North America.

Alemany is one of the Spanish representatives at the 51st General Assembly of Former Students of IESE Business School held in Sao Paulo, Brazil. IESE has offered its own programmes in Brazil since 1997 and contributed to the founding of ISE, an associated school in Sao Paulo.