Abertis to Buy Italian Highways For $677 Million in Growth Drive

  • A4 Holding's main assets are A4-Brescia-Padova, A31 highways
  • Abertis makes good on pledges to seek international expansion

Abertis Infraestructuras SA agreed to pay 594 million euros ($677 million) to buy control of two Italian highways as the Spanish toll-road operator presses ahead with its international expansion plan.

Abertis reached an accord with Intesa Sanpaolo SpA, Astaldi SpA and the Tabacchi family to buy the two companies that control 51 percent of A4 Holding, which owns the A4 Brescia-Padova and A31 highways, the Barcelona-based company said in a filing to regulators Tuesday. The A4 is the Italian highway with the third-most traffic, Abertis said.

The deal shows that Chief Executive Officer Franicisco Reynes is making good on his pledge to make international growth a priority for Abertis as the company seeks out new projects and opportunities to extend concessions. Acquiring the A4 assets will add 610 million euros in annual revenue and will mean Italy contributes 6 percent of Abertis’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

Abertis shares rose 0.8 percent to 14.54 euros at 9.51 a.m. in Madrid, valuing the company at 13.7 billion euros.

Abertis in January agreed to pay 948 million euros to buy the remaining 50 percent it didn’t already own of the Chilean highway concession Autopista Central, making the South American country its third-biggest market. The company lost out on an opportunity to grow its Americas business in November when Ferrovial SA agreed to sell its 55 percent stake in the Chicago Skyway toll road concession to three Canadian pension firms.

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