Abertis shares suspended on €25bn CVC buyout news

Trading in Abertis was suspended after its shares rose sharply Monday on news that the infrastructure company's main shareholders were in LBO talks with CVC.

CNMV, the Spanish competition authority, has suspended trading in the shares of infrastructure group Abertis after its share price rose sharply earlier today on news of a potential buyout.

Abertis: shares suspended
on buyout news

The news, first reported by the Financial Times (FT), says that Abertis’ main shareholders – savings bank La Caixa (29 percent) and construction group ACS (25 percent) – are in talks with European private equity firm CVC Capital Partners with respect to a leveraged buyout of Abertis.

According to the FT, a planned tender offer to Abertis’ minority shareholders would value the company’s equity at €12 billion, or more than €25 billion including debt. Italian bank Mediobanca is reportedly putting together a bank club to provide an €8 billion loan for the deal. Abertis’ market capitalisation on Monday before the announcement was €8.6 billion, the FT reports.

Florentino Perez, chairman of ACS, said earlier this year that he had been approached by investment funds seeking to buy shares in Abertis.

Abertis posted a net profit of €119 million during the first quarter of 2010, a close to six percent increase relative to the previous comparable period. It derives over 70 percent of its revenues and 81 percent of its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) from its domestic and international toll roads business. The latter includes subsidiary Sanef, which manages close to 1,800 kilometres across France.

A spokesman from Abertis did not comment on the buyout news.