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Brookfield Joins Abertis in OHL Brazil Highway-Unit Stake

Abertis Infraestructuras SA said it will buy a stake in Obrascon Huarte Lain SA’s Brazilian unit jointly with Brookfield Infrastructure, and the deal may prompt a full takeover bid for Sao Paulo-listed OHL Brasil.

Abertis and Brookfield will buy 60 percent of OHL Brasil, giving Madrid-based OHL 10 percent of Abertis and taking on 504 million euros ($623 million) of liabilities, Barcelona-based Abertis said in a filing today. Brazilian law may require a bid for the remaining OHL Brasil shares, the company added.

Brookfield is helping Abertis in a plan it announced in April to diversify away from Spain, where toll-road traffic is suffering amid the second recession since 2009. The company said last month it may include a financial partner to buy the Brazilian highways.

Abertis shares rose 0.5 percent to 9.92 euros at 11 a.m. in Madrid. OHL rose 0.9 percent and the Ibex 35 main share index added 0.3 percent. Brookfield Infrastucture invests in utilities, transport, energy and timber assets.

The purchase will add 800 million euros of revenue and 500 million euros of earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization in 2013, Abertis said. It will increase the amount of roads the company manages to 7,000 kilometers and reduce the share of the Spanish road business to 27 percent of revenue, while Brazil will account for 20 percent. The deal will close by the end of the year.

OHL will increase its holding in Barcelona-based Abertis to 15 percent after receiving 10 percent from Abertis and Brookfield, which are splitting the transaction 51 percent to 49 percent respectively.

Abertis said it will place as much as 4.9 percent of its own shares that it now holds as treasury stock “at the disposal of Brookfield.” The deal also involves Abertis and Brookfield making a payment of 10.7 million euros.

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