Vinci Pulled Out of Hochtief Airport Sale Process, SocGen Says

Vinci SA (DG), Europe’s biggest builder, pulled out of a bidding process for the purchase of Hochtief AG’s airport-operating business, Societe Generale said in a research note today, citing Vinci’s chief financial officer.

The withdrawal is “good news in our view as we found investors were uneasy with the deal, noting that Athens Airport was the main asset,” Muriel Fellous, an analyst at the French bank, wrote in a report today. Vinci CFO Christian Labeyrie also said net debt at the end of the year will be little changed from a year earlier at 13.1 billion euros ($17.6 billion), lower than previously expected, she wrote.

Maxence Naouri, a spokesman for Vinci, based in Rueil- Malmaison near Paris, declined to comment.

Hochtief, Germany’s largest builder, said Nov. 14 that the sale of the airport-operating business was being delayed by the struggling European economy. China’s HNA Group Co. is among the parties interested in the asset, people familiar with the process said in August.

In a presentation to bond investors published on its website on Nov. 28, Vinci reiterated its long-term strategy to boost revenue and expand margins through an increased presence in airport management, the purchase of toll roads and car parks in emerging markets, the development of “greenfield” concessions, and more work in specialized civil engineering, energy, and oil and gas contracting.

To contact the reporter on this story: Francois de Beaupuy in Paris at fdebeaupuy@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net

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