Concessionaires hit by Chilean earthquake

Toll road developers Atlantia, ACS, Abertis, Belfi, Cintra, Global Via, Hochtief and ISA have all suffered damages to their Chilean road concessions in the aftermath of the 8.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Chile over the weekend.

Many toll road concessionaires operating in Chile have suffered damage to their road assets following the 8.8 magnitude earthquake that rocked the country over the weekend.

Epicentre of Chilean earthquake

The extent of the damage is still being evaluated by the concessionaires and the Chilean ministry of public works (MOP), but MOP’s preliminary report (see related items) shows that toll road operators Atlantia, ACS, Belfi, Cintra, Global Via, Hochtief and ISA have all had their concessions damaged by the earthquake.

It is not yet possible to quantify the extent of the damages incurred by the concessionaires but most concessions, if not all of them, will be covered by insurance. A spokesman from Abertis told that their concession contracts in Chile factored in this type of risk, but was not able to provide any more details.

In this sense, insurance companies are likely to be the hardest hit by the earthquake. Chilean insurance association AACH told Business News Americas that local insurers may have to pay around $2.5 billion to cover damages caused by the earthquake. This prompted chairman Mikel Uriarte to say the earthquake is “the biggest catastrophe for the insurance industry”.

Among developers, Chilean construction company Belfi appears to have suffered the most damage to its concessions, especially to the 109-kilometre Ruta de la Madera, which has “suffered extensive damage”, with MOP identifying 50 critical points of damage, 10 of which are “serious”. 

The 29-kilometre Vespucio Norte highway, operated by Hochtief and ACS, is currently closed following the collapse of the Miraflores bypass but is expected to gradually reopen this week. Cintra Chile, now majority owned by Colombian power group ISA, also suffered damages to the 238-kilometre Autopista del Maipo, with a bypass and a bridge having collapsed.

Abertis, the only company that could be reached in time to provide comment for this piece, said that its 719-kilometre road network was damaged, but it appears none of the damage was critical, with most roads functioning normally.

Its car park operations in Chile, which include 9,000 parking places in Santiago, Valparaiso and Concepcion, escaped mostly unscathed in the first two cities. But an Abertis spokesman said they are still evaluating the extent of the damage in the Concepcion area, which was hit hard by the earthquake. Santiago’s airport, in which Abertis owns a minority stake, also suffered some damage but is operating with restrictions.

This weekend’s earthquake in Chile was the worst for the country in the last 50 years. The latest figures place the death toll from the earthquake at 795 people, with two million affected by the quake. The earthquake had its epicentre 115km north-east of Concepcion and 325km south-west of the capital, Santiago.