Rome - Atlantia is preparing for the final challenge against Hochtief-Acs to win Spain’s Abertis. The shareholders’ meeting of the Italian group approved the seven-month extension of the capital increase for the tender offer. It is only a technical modification, but it will be necessary in the event that Atlantia decides to start its tender offer over again.
But CEO Giovanni Castellucci clarified this matter; any decision will only be made after Spain’s financial and securities regulator, CNMV, approves the counter-offer from Florentino Perez’s Group. In the meantime, Atlantia’s share closed on the Stock Exchange 1.48% down.
The Atlantia shareholders’ meeting, which met in an extraordinary session, approved the extension of the deadline for the capital increase for the Abertis offer from 30 April to 30 November by a majority, as well as the remodification of the period of non-transferability for the special shares to 90 days. The extension “seems to us to be a reasonable term,” said Castellucci, explaining that the timing of the operation, “as it is turning out now, was neither imaginable nor predictable,” when the Italian Group announced its takeover bid on 15 May last year (an offer which was then launched in June at €16.50 per share for a total of €16.341 billion).
In October, it was the counter offer (at 18.76 per share) from Hochtief, a subsidiary of Spain’s ACS Group, that changed the situation. It is still missing one piece, CNMV’s approval, which according to rumours could come tomorrow or next week: “Today we are comfortable with this situation. We are in the process of making a decision, I can’t say more than that,” said Hochtief CEO, Marcelino Fernandez Verdes, during the conference call on the group’s results, which closed 2017 with a net profit up 31% to €421 million and revenue of €22.6 billion (+14%). CNMV’s approval could pave the way for a possible restart of Atlantia’s offer: “Any decision,” about a possible change will be made “only after the competitor’s offer has been approved,” Castellucci confirmed, emphasizing that he does not see any “discord” between the value of the Italian offer and the price attributed by the market, which should take measure of any possible alliances.
Atlantia, meanwhile, started 2018 with traffic growth that exceeded expectations on the Italian network of its subsidiary Autostrade per l’Italia: in the first month and a half, accumulated traffic grew by 5.1%.