Abertis buys extra Hispasat slice

Spain's main telecommunications network provider Abertis Telecom has signed an agreement with space manufacturer EADS/CASA in order to acquire a 5% stake in Hispasat for €35 million.

Abertis is already a major shareholder in Paris-based Eutelsat (32%). This move sees Abertis boost its participation in Hispasat'scapital to 33.4% and thus consolidating its position as the largestsingle shareholder in Spain's satellite operator. The Spanish government holds 25% of Hispasat, with Telefonica holding 13.2%.

The extra stake has to be approved by Spainνs competition authorities. Last July Abertis bought its Hispasat stake from EnsafecaHolding Empresarial (former telco Auna) and bank BBVA and owning 28.4% of shares for €199 million after having been given the green light to proceed by European competition authorities, and without conditions having been applied. Spain's government had earlier sanctioned the purchase.

Hispasat has at present three operational satellites (1C, 1D, both for Europe and North Africa, and Amazonas 1 for American coverage). These satellites offer audiovisual and broadband services of more than 1.000 channels. Also the company has two other satellites, Spainsat and Xtar-Eu for governmental and military services.

In 2007 Hispasat recorded €128 million of revenues, an EBITDA of €101 million and net income of €36 million. As already mentioned Abertis Telecom is also Eutelsat's main shareholder, so this fresh investment consolidates Abertis Telecom as Eutelsat's and Hispasat's main shareholder.