ACS will collect in cash the more than 5,000 million for Cobra and is interested in Autostrade

The president of ACS, Florentino Pérez, this morning provided analysts with news about the negotiations with Vinci for the sale of the Industrial Services area, with the Cobra subsidiary as the spearhead. The closing of the agreement, Pérez said, expected for this month of March and ACS anticipates that the payment could be received in full in cash.

The operation announced last October offered an indicative value of the scope of Vinci’s proposal of 5,200 million euros, of which 2,800 million were to be paid, at least, in cash and the difference was to be delivered in Vinci shares or in cash.

The French giant’s appetite includes engineering and works activities, participations in eight concessions and public-private collaboration (PPP) projects in energy, as well as the development platform for new projects in the renewable energy sector. Cobra, the strong arm of the industrial division, has 2,700 megawatts (MW) to be built in the coming years and more than 6,000 MW under development.

After the change of scenery, Pérez has indicated that the funds received will be dedicated for the most part to investing in renewable energy. In fact, once the Industrial Services transaction is closed, ACS is about to look for green energy projects with Vinci itself. That is, instead of a direct entry of the Spanish into the capital of its French rival, both are studying creating a joint vehicle to grow in green energy.

ACS ‘portfolio of energy projects includes 2,995 MW distributed among 47 photovoltaic plants, 412 MW in eight wind farms, and 260 MW in three thermosolar plants. An installed or developing capacity, to which 12 transmission lines are added for a total of 5,842 kilometers.

During the presentation this afternoon, there was talk of a 25 GW green portfolio under development, 48% in wind power and an identical percentage in photovoltaic. Pérez has been convinced of the growth opportunities in Spain, where he has based 10% of these projects under promotion.

Interest in Austostrade

Florentino Pérez has also referred to ACS’s commitment to the highways and has ruled out the entry into airports or a strengthening in the capital of Hochtief and Cimic once the injection of funds for more than 5,000 million has been received. The chief executive of ACS has stated that even will study the forced divestment of Atlantia in Autostrade per l’italia (ASPI), in which it has 88% of the capital.

The family-controlled group Benetton He agreed in July last year to leave Austostrade as part of the punishment for the collapse of the Morandi Viaduct, which occurred in Genoa in August 2018 with the tragic death toll of 43. And it was decided that it was the public Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) who would take control of the Italian concessionaire with 3,000 kilometers under management. The tug of war between Atlantia and the Government has not stopped since then due to the desire of the company to sell in the market.

For now Atlantia has a binding offer on the table of the aforementioned CDP in consortium with Blackstone y Macquarie Infrastructure. The, first has the 51% of the BidCo, while the funds are holders of 24.5% each. The plan set is for the public company to subsequently sell part of its stake to other institutional investors. 88% of ASPI has been valued at around 8,000 million euros.

More growth for Abertis

Another of the decided bets of the largest Spanish infrastructure group is Abertis, where it has half of the capital. After the concessionaire’s investments in 2020, Pérez stressed that the objective continues to be growth. Last year Abertis acquired the Mexican Red de Carreteras de Occidente (RCO) for 1,500 million euros, and bought the majority in the American Elizabeth River Crossing for 1,000 million.

The president of ACS has addressed the collapse of traffic in the Abertis concessions, of an average of 21% in the daily traffic intensity during 2020, due to mobility restrictions. A “conjunctural” problem that has weighed the net profit of the construction group by 280 million euros. Despite this, Abertis delivered 875 million in dividends last year, paid between April and November, and has the commitment to distribute 600 million in 2021 and 2022.

“One of the challenges for ACS is to balance the weight of construction activities and infrastructure management,” the president warned. The company has a basket of 90 concessions totaling 53,400 million of investment. Of this figure, 1 billion have been directly committed by ACS and two-thirds have already been disbursed. The company has located investment opportunities for 250,000 million in its main geographies.


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